December 6, 2018

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, connects your jaw to your skull. This joint acts like a sliding hinge so that you can open and close your mouth — it’s responsible for much of what your jaw does.

Since the TMJ is such a significant part of your jaw, it can have a major impact on your health if it becomes injured. Knowing how it can become damaged, habits to watch out for, symptoms of an injured TMJ and possible treatment options will keep you from suffering through a painful TMJ issue.

Treatments using Botox for TMJ disorders have become more popular in recent years. Xeomin is a newer product that is quite similar to Botox, and has some additional benefits.

What causes a TMJ disorder?

First of all, TMD is the common term used when discussing this injury. When this joint is injured it’s called a temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. You might be asking, how can my TMJ become injured or how does a TMJ disorder develop? There are a few different ways that injuries can occur, some of which are preventable while others are out of your control.

We have two temporomandibular joints that develop on either side of our jaw. It’s important for these to be symmetrical so that one isn’t overworking or being strained. Having a misaligned jaw or teeth can cause strain on your jaw and, eventually, you could develop TMD.

Arthritis can lead to complications in your jaw. Osteoarthritis is the most common type to affect the area. Other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also cause a TMJ disorder. Connective tissue diseases are disease that affect the structural integrity of the connective tissue in your body, which includes the TMJ.

If you broke your jaw or it got injured from an external force, your TMJ could be affected in the long-term. It might not be apparent right after your jaw heals, but it may pop up in the future. It’s best to be sure that your TMJ has been examined following a jaw injury.

Habits such as bruxism (grinding of the teeth), clenching or exhaustive chewing can cause strain on the TMJ. A disorder might develop years down the road. You will be doing yourself a major favour by identifying and changing habits that might put strain on your TMJ earlier on.

TMJ disorder symptoms

Understanding what you need to watch out for is a great start. If you regularly experience pain on one or both sides of the jaw or aching pain in your face or ears, this could be a sign of an issue with your jaw. Getting migraines regularly can also be a sign of a TMJ disorder.

Other symptoms include difficulties or pain when chewing, regular migraines, a locking jaw, or clicking, popping or grinding sounds coming from the jaw. If you believe you might have a TMJ disorder, be sure to consult your dentist.

How can Xeomin help a TMJ disorder?

A treatment for TMJ or jaw pain that is becoming more well known is Xeomin injections. An injection of Xeomin can last anywhere from 3 to 5 months, and can reduce or eliminate your jaw pain.

An injection of Xeomin, or incobotulinumtoxinA, into the muscle will relax it and this will reduce the tension in the jaw. This keeps the strain on your TMJ lower, alleviating jaw pain. If you grind your teeth, having a less tense jaw might even solve that problem for you too.

The difference between Botox and Xeomin

Xeomin only contains one ingredient, botulinum toxin A, whereas Botox has additives. Because there are no additives in Xeomin, it does not need to be refrigerated before use and it activates differently in the muscle.

Because of the protein additives in Botox, it can diffuse further, which can cause it to affect other muscles. A benefit to Xeomin is that it doesn’t diffuse away from the intended muscle.

Some people can develop a resistance to Botox and those types of treatments can stop working completely. With Xeomin, it is less likely that your body will reject it and, since TMJ needs to be treated consistently, you will need it for years to come if this is the treatment you choose.

If you are suffering from or wanting to prevent TMJ disorders, be sure to stay up-to-date on the latest treatments. At Summerland Dental, our professional dentists are trained to identify and provide TMJ treatments for patients. Contact us today for more information about treatments for TMJ disorders in Summerland, British Columbia.