Recently I have noticed an increase of patients coming to see me complaining of a dull, aching pain that seems to stem from the back of the jaw, and can spread over a wide area. This pain may come and go, and can often be worse in the mornings or when chewing food. Quite often patients will worry this is a tooth abscess or infection, but in reality, it can often be a condition called temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD).
In this blog I want to explain what TMD really is, how it can be managed, and also how botulinum toxin, administered by myself and Dr Wilson at Infinity Skin Clinic, can be an effective additional treatment option for TMD.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular dysfunction, commonly known as TMD or TMJ disorder, refers to a group of conditions affecting the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. It can cause a range of symptoms, including jaw pain, facial pain, headaches, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw, difficulty chewing, and limited jaw movement. These symptoms can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and oral health. It often comes and goes, with frequent “flare ups” where symptoms seem to be drastically worse.
Common Causes of TMD
TMD can have various underlying causes, and it often results from a combination of factors. Some common causes include:
– Jaw joint trauma or injury
– Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism)
– Malocclusion (improper bite alignment)
– Stress and anxiety leading to increased muscle tension
– Arthritis affecting the jaw joint
– Connective tissue disorders
Identifying the underlying cause of TMD is crucial for effective management and treatment.
How to Manage a TMD Flare-ups
When TMD symptoms flare up, there are some simple ways to gain relief. These include:
– Gentle massage of the muscles of the jaw to reduce pain and tension.
– Applying moist heat (such as a wheat bag) to the affected area can alleviate muscle stiffness and improve blood circulation.
– Soft diet: Consuming softer foods that require less chewing reduces strain on the jaw joints.
– Splint therapy: Customized oral splints or mouthguards can help stabilize the jaw joint and protect teeth from grinding or clenching.
Botulinum Toxin as an Additional Treatment for TMD
As well as the above techniques for managing TMD pain, botulinum toxin (commonly known as “BTX”), can be used as an additional, complementary therapy. BTX works by stopping nerves from being able to communicate with specific muscles, causing them to “relax”. By selectively relaxing the muscles responsible for jaw movement, botulinum toxin can provide relief from jaw pain, headaches, and muscle tension. As an additional benefit, you will also notice slimming and increased definition of the jawline, as the overworked jaw muscles often produce a boxy appearance to the lower face.
Introducing Infinity Skin Clinic:
At Infinity Skin Clinic, we are proud to offer advanced treatments for various cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. Myself, Dr. Roma McNeil, and Dr. Hannah Wilson, have extensive experience in the advanced use of botulinum toxin. We have managed to help numerous patients find relief from TMD symptoms using a combination of BTX with other techniques. By combining our years as practicing as Dentists, and understanding of facial anatomy, with our training in BTX, we are able to provide personalised and effective solutions for TMD management in a comfortable and caring environment.
Managing TMD requires a multifaceted approach, and no two patients are the same! So if you are struggling with the day-to-day symptoms, or feel you may benefit from the use of BTX, feel free to book a complementary consultation with us today.
Thank you for reading,
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