For this study, researchers recruited 25 people out of more than 200 that applied. All 25 had muscular TMJ, and all were treated with a well-defined regimen of noninvasive treatment. This regimen included physical therapy, an occlusal splint, and medications, such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants.
For 16 of the patients, this care was satisfactory: their symptoms resolved within three months. However, the remaining 9 patients did not experience relief, so these patients were given BOTOX® injections (botulism toxin type A) on both sides of the face in the masseter and temporal muscles.
Researchers compared the values of jaw pain, jaw opening, and bite force from before injections and at three weeks after injection. Some of the results were odd. For some patients, bite force increased. For others it decreased. For a few it didn’t change. The story was the same for maximum jaw opening. In neither case was this considered statistically significant.
However, in terms of jaw pain, the reduction was statistically significant.
Even better, researchers found no side effects for these patients after six months of follow-up. They specifically looked for cosmetic problems, difficulty chewing, muscle weakness, or dry mouth (in case BOTOX® deadened the salivary gland nerves).
The study design makes it clear that BOTOX® injections are effective on a certain select group of patients. However, larger, more diverse studies would need to be done to demonstrate broader effectiveness. In the meantime, though, it makes sense to try a number of different approaches to try to treat TMJ. Anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants can help, as can physical therapy, and, of course, oral splint therapy. If those don’t work, though BOTOX® might be the best solution.
At Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics, we offer bite splints and BOTOX® injections. If you’ve tried other treatments, we invite you to try these proven approaches to resolve your jaw discomfort.
Please call (509) 927-2273 today for an appointment with a Spokane Valley TMJ dentist.