BOTOX® for TMJ Treatment in San Francisco, CA

TMJ Pain Relief Treatment

It is estimated that nearly 10 million people in the United States suffer from jaw misalignment. A misaligned bite can create problems that extend beyond the way you chew or speak. You may experience TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain in your neck and shoulders or suffer from the consequences of poor posture related to the problems in your jaw. Myofascial trigger points around the TMJ can also sometimes be the source of pain. Our TMJ specialist in San Francisco, CA, can effectively treat and correct jaw misalignment or malocclusion to help rid you of the painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD), and we offer an array of treatment options for myofascial pain, as well.

If you suffer from TMJ or myofascial pain, please call the DENTAL STUDIO SF today at 415-465-5896 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced San Francisco TMJ specialists.

On this page, you will find information discussing:

Our TMJ specialist in San Francisco talking to a patient about treatment options.

How Does BOTOX® Work for Dental and Facial Pain Conditions?

BOTOX® is an FDA-approved protein complex that temporarily blocks the nerve impulses responsible for muscle contraction. When BOTOX® is injected into the muscles in and around your mouth, it can correct a number of oral health problems, such as TMJ disorder and bruxism. The injections only take a few minutes and results can last for several months at a time.

In the sections below you can learn more about how BOTOX® injections can often be useful in the treatment of TMJ Disorder and bruxism. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

BOTOX® Injections for TMJ Disorder

Millions of people suffer from chronic headaches and recurring neck and facial pain. In some cases, these issues are the result of temporomandibular joint disorder.

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints are used frequently throughout the day when you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. When your jaw joints, teeth, and face muscles are not in harmonious balance, you can develop painful complications, such as:

While still a relatively new TMJ treatment option, BOTOX®has been found to effectively address a number of medical issues caused by muscle overexertion. Various conditions, such as chronic migraines, excessive sweating, and uncontrollable blinking have been successfully treated with BOTOX®, making it a viable solution for TMD as well. Learn more about BOTOX® for TMJ treatment here.

Many TMJ symptoms are caused by the overstimulation of the masseter and temporalis muscles (the clenching and grinding muscles), which are the muscles primarily used when you speak and eat. During your BOTOX® treatment, Dr. Cornehl will strategically administer a series of injections directly into your affected muscles, relaxing the muscles and relieving tension and pain in the head, neck, and jaw.

The benefits of using BOTOX®to treat TMJ include:

Repeat sessions are necessary in order to achieve the best results from your BOTOX®treatment. Many patients feel significant relief from their TMJ disorder after only a couple of sessions.

Received great treatment for TMJ Botox and follow-ups. Staff are friendly, offices are clean/modern, and treatment was effective. Botox may not be a long-term treatment for TMJ for some people, but is worth at least a try for temporary relief/reset and some time off pain meds. It definitely helped control my migraines and pain, and I’m really glad I saw Dr. Cornehl. He’s super nice and made the treatment a breeze – I hate needles and was pretty nervous about any aesthetic implications (like not being able to smile, etc.). No negative side effects and you can’t visually see anything post-treatment. Also, there was a 2 week follow-up with some additional trigger point therapy that helped a lot too! Some may find treatment expensive (not covered by insurance), but honestly if you are suffering, so worth the pain relief!

Hannah Dittman

October 25, 2020


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BOTOX® Injections for Bruxism

Bruxism is a medical term that describes the act of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Chronic teeth grinding can cause aching jaws, severe headaches, ear pain, and can also lead to the wearing down and breaking of your teeth. Teeth grinding can also misalign the temporomandibular joint and lead to TMD. Most cases of bruxism occur during slumber, but the condition can also occur involuntarily during waking hours. It is often linked with contributing factors such as stress or anxiety.

Common bruxism treatments range from sleeping with an uncomfortable mouth guard to exercise regimens meant to relax certain muscles. With BOTOX® treatment, our TMJ specialist, Dr. Cornehl, can quickly relax the facial muscles responsible for teeth clenching and grinding and relieve symptoms such as:

Results typically last for four to six months.

What Is TMJ Disorder/TMD?

TMJ Disorder and TMD are essentially interchangeable acronyms for temporomandibular joint disorder. Your temporomandibular joints are the sophisticated joints that attach your lower jaw to the rest of your skull. Unlike any other joints in your body, the temporomandibular joints allow for a broad range of motion.

In order to facilitate chewing and speaking, your jaw must move freely in a variety of angles. Your jaw must also be very strong. Not only do your temporomandibular joints harbor great strength, they also work with some of the other strongest muscles in your body, like your neck and head muscles. These versatile muscles also contain two of your body’s largest nerve clusters. When there is even slight malocclusion, the resulting symptoms can negatively impact your comfort, mobility and ability to perform crucial tasks. Tense, stressed muscles surrounding the TMJs are another potential source of your discomfort. In those cases, trigger point injections may alleviate some of the discomfort by relaxing the muscles.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

There are a number of potential contributing factors to a TMD diagnosis. As part of your TMJ treatment, the dentist will comprehensively examine your jaw to determine the function and shape of your facial muscles and joints.

The most common causes of TMJ disorder include:

Your TMJ treatment consultation is also an opportunity for our dentists to understand your TMJ symptoms and develop a comprehensive view of your neuromuscular health.

What Are the Common TMJ Disorder Symptoms?

TMJ symptoms can manifest in such varied areas and ways that many sufferers of the condition don’t even realize the source of their discomfort. That’s why it is so important to keep regularly scheduled appointments with your dentist.

During your routine examination with one of our dentists, they will evaluate the condition of your oral structures and ask questions to determine the full state of your oral health. By identifying the symptoms of TMJ early, they are able to address the issue before it becomes a larger, more expensive problem.

Some TMJ symptoms include:

TMJ Headache Pain

TMJ headaches are the most commonly reported symptoms of the disorder. Almost 80 percent of TMJ sufferers experience frequent headaches. TMJ may be a contributing factor to your headaches if:

When you meet with our TMJ specialists, they will conduct a thorough evaluation of your bite and help you determine if TMD plays a role in your chronic migraine-like headaches.

TMJ Ear Pain

Ear pain, as well as tinnitus (ringing in the ears) can result from nerve irritation caused by temporomandibular disorder. TMJ ear pain can present itself as a dull, ongoing irritation or a sharp, searing pain. It can also cause minor muscle spasms in your face. If related to TMJ, you are most likely to experience these symptoms when you:

If you experience TMJ ear pain while performing any of the above tasks, you should seek the attention of our TMD specialists right away for a complete evaluation.

TMJ Neck Pain

Since muscles work like a team, when one muscle works, other muscles are usually bound to join in. The muscles that control eating, chewing, speaking and head posture are intricately linked to the bones in the neck.

By working to correct your bite and relieving strain on the jaw, our dentists in turn address pain that results elsewhere in the body through the complex relationship of the bones, joints, muscles and nerves.

What Are My TMJ Treatment Options?

Unfortunately, people often turn to medications that can be both physically dangerous and addictive to treat TMJ symptoms. While these drugs may dull the pain, they fail to address the actual problem. The best way to treat your TMJ syndrome is with the supervision of an experienced TMJ specialist. As an active member of the Spear Faculty Club at the renowned Spear Education Institute, Dr. Cornehl has received extensive training in both cosmetic and rehabilitative dentistry.

Custom Orthotic Appliances

While a complete smile makeover is a comprehensive TMJ treatment option in addition to a variety of other smile issues, our dentists can also treat your TMD with a more conservative approach. They may choose to fit you with a custom orthotic appliance designed to correct jaw misalignment and relieve your nagging TMJ pain & symptoms. The orthotic device helps to relax your jaw muscles and reduce pressure on your nerves, joints and other oral structures.

BOTOX® Injections

BOTOX® injections directly into muscles of the jaw, head, and neck—such as the masseter and temporalis muscles—can provide relief of tension in the jaw. Since many cases of TMJ Disorder are caused or exacerbated by overuse of these muscles, targeted injections of BOTOX® have shown to relax the muscles and diminish some of the most debilitating symptoms of the condition. Please see the section on “BOTOX® Injections for TMJ Disorder” near the top of this page for more details on this treatment.

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Advances in laser technology have made it possible to treat many cases of TMJ Disorder with low-level laser therapy (LLLT), also referred to as low-level light therapy or photobiomodulation therapy. LLLT utilizes the state-of-the-art LightWalker® laser device to address inflammation in the area of the temporomandibular joint and repair tissues. With its ability to reduce pain caused by TMD, this treatment may serve as an ideal alternative to drug therapies for many patients.

Low-level laser techniques offer some of the most innovative therapies for a variety of common conditions, and have proven particularly beneficial for many patients suffering from TMD. Not only can low-level laser/photobiomodulation therapy help restore tissues and diminish pain, but the treatment can also encourage wound healing and improve circulation. Dr. Cornehl offers two methods of low-level laser therapy: Biostimulation and Bioinhibition. The use of lower-density laser energy can stimulate the healing of joints, tendons, and wounds while minimizing inflammation; the use of higher density energy can help block neural pathways from producing significant sensations of pain while aiding the healing process and enhancing circulation.

Low-level laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure and should not create a sensation of heat on the skin during treatment. This method has been utilized for years in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and, for ideal candidates, can be very effective for inflammation and pain in the area of the temporomandibular joint.

Continual At-Home Maintenance

Since there are several factors that contribute to TMJ syndrome, there may be several approaches to your TMJ treatment. One approach involves the introduction of home-treatment strategies. Many of these strategies include certain types of exercises and adjustments to daily habits that may help relieve symptoms. At-home TMJ maintenance recommendations may include:

Patient in need of TMJ treatment in San Francisco.

What TMJ Exercises May Be Helpful?

It may not be helpful to perform TMJ exercises at the moment you are experiencing TMJ pain and discomfort. However, once the pain has subsided, there are certain strengthening exercises you can do to help prevent some of the pain from returning. These activities include closing and opening your mouth while applying gentle resistance on your chin.

In addition to performing strengthening exercises, stretching exercises can also help with TMJ pain relief. For these movements, like strengthening exercises, try to move your jaw as much as possible without creating discomfort.

Jaw relaxation exercises may also be able to help with TMJ pain. To help yourself relax, inhale for about five to ten seconds then slowly exhale. Stress can contribute to TMJ pain and any steps you can take to reduce your stress may help ease TMD-related discomfort.

What Is Myofascial Pain?

BOTOX® injections or other trigger point injections may also be recommended by our dentists if you suffer from chronic myofascial pain. But what exactly is this pain condition? It involves discomfort caused by tensed, knotted muscles. The pain usually begins at the trigger point but is “referred,” so it is felt in other areas of the body.

Myo- is a prefix referring to muscles, while fascia is the connective tissue surrounding your muscles, thus the word myofascial indicates pain in the muscles and fascia. At the DENTAL STUDIO SF, our dentists see many cases of orofacial pain related to myofascial trigger points (orofacial pain occurs in the mouth, jaws, and face). Most cases of orofacial pain originate from the muscles and fascia surrounding the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs.

Myofascial pain can be so debilitating that it affects your daily life. It originates in your muscles, at the trigger points, which are focused areas of tense muscles. Your muscles’ trigger points may cause the symptoms if they are stressed, strained, or overworked.

If you experience chronic myofascial pain, you may have a point in your body where the pain is focused. It may feel like aching. The pain may originate in the muscle affected, or it may be “referred” pain, meaning you feel it somewhere else nearby or far from the point of origin.

Myofascial pain emanating from a trigger point has been linked to:

This type of tenderness can be truly life-altering. The daily inconvenience and discomfort are not anything you should have to live with. Ask our dentists about your treatment options today.

What Are the Treatment Options for Myofascial Pain?

Effective treatment relies mostly on finding the source of the soreness and the cause. Most often, myofascial pain is treated with some combination of the following:

These are just several of the most common options. There are other potential treatments for myofascial pain that can be discussed. We can determine whether trigger point injections, BOTOX®, or other options can help you find relief from myofascial pain or other types of head, neck, jaw, and TMJ pain.

Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ Botox Treatment

At DENTAL STUDIO SF, we recognize that Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) can be a source of significant discomfort and disruption in your daily life. Botox is an innovative treatment option that has shown promising results in providing relief from TMJ symptoms. Below are comprehensive FAQs to help you understand this treatment better.

Understanding Botox for TMJ

Q: What is Botox, and how does it help with TMJ?

A: Botox, a form of botulinum toxin, is commonly known for its cosmetic applications but has been found effective in treating TMJ disorders. It works by relaxing the muscles around the jaw, thereby reducing the tension and pain associated with TMJ.

Q: Is Botox treatment for TMJ safe?

A: Yes, when administered by a trained professional like Dr. Cornehl at DENTAL STUDIO SF, Botox treatment is safe. It is FDA-approved and has been used effectively for various medical conditions, including TMJ disorders.

Q: Who is a good candidate for Botox treatment for TMJ?

A: Individuals experiencing jaw tension, discomfort, or pain associated with TMJ disorders can be good candidates. A thorough evaluation by Dr. Cornehl is necessary to determine if Botox is suitable for you.

Q: How long does it take to see results from Botox treatment for TMJ?

A: Most patients begin to notice an improvement in their symptoms within a few days to a week after the treatment. The full effect typically becomes evident within two weeks.

Q: How long do the effects of Botox for TMJ last?

A: The effects of Botox for TMJ can last anywhere from three to six months. The duration varies from patient to patient, and repeat treatments may be necessary for sustained relief.

The Treatment Process

Q: What can I expect during the Botox treatment session for TMJ?

A: The treatment involves a series of Botox injections administered to specific areas around the jaw muscles. The process is relatively quick, typically taking about 20 to 30 minutes, and is done in our office.

Q: Is the Botox treatment for TMJ painful?

A: Most patients report minimal discomfort during the procedure. The needles used for Botox injections are very fine, and the treatment is generally well-tolerated.

Q: Are there any side effects or risks associated with Botox for TMJ?

A: Side effects are usually mild and temporary, including minor bruising or swelling at the injection site. Serious side effects are rare, especially when the procedure is performed by an experienced practitioner.

Post-Treatment Care and Considerations

Q: What should I expect after receiving Botox treatment for TMJ?

A: After the treatment, you can return to your normal activities. It’s advised to avoid rubbing or massaging the treated area for a few hours to prevent spreading the toxin.

Q: Can Botox affect my ability to speak or eat?

A: No, Botox treatment for TMJ should not affect your speech or ability to eat. However, if you experience any unusual symptoms, you should contact Dr. Cornehl immediately.

Q: How often will I need Botox treatments for my TMJ?

A: The frequency of treatments varies. Dr. Cornehl will assess your response to the initial treatment and recommend a schedule that best suits your needs.

Getting Started with Treatment

Q: How do I know if Botox is the right treatment for my TMJ?

A: An initial consultation with Dr. Cornehl is the best way to determine if Botox is appropriate for your TMJ symptoms. He will consider your medical history, symptoms, and treatment goals.

We hope these FAQs have provided valuable insights into Botox treatment for TMJ. If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, please feel free to reach out to DENTAL STUDIO SF. We are here to help you achieve relief from TMJ discomfort and enhance your quality of life.

Schedule Your Treatment Evaluation Today

Effectively treating TMJ dysfunction and myofascial pain depends on the cause of the condition and the circumstances surrounding it. While exercises and over-the-counter medicines may provide temporary relief, it is necessary to seek the help of a highly-trained and experienced TMJ dentist.

Our San Francisco dentists trained extensively in the field of clinical and restorative dentistry and understand the symptoms, causes, and appropriate treatments of TMJ disorder and myofascial pain. They can help correct your bite and alleviate your symptoms.

To schedule your treatment evaluation, please contact the DENTAL STUDIO SF today by completing the form on this page or calling 415-465-5896. We help patients throughout the Bay Area.