Many people have heard of the name “Botox” and immediately think of it as an anti-wrinkle remedy. While it is true that Botox, a neuromodulation, can be used to prevent wrinkles, it also has
many other uses, including helping to relieve pain.
What is Botox?
Botox was first FDA approved in 1989 to treat certain eye-muscle disorders. Then in 2000, the FDA approved Botox for treating a disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder muscle contractions. Since then, Botox has also been approved as a cosmetic treatment for reduction of lines, otherwise known as wrinkles.
In medical use, small doses of purified botulinum toxin areinjected into muscles to block the release of acetylcholine from motor neurons, thereby preventing muscle contraction, according to the FDA. The toxin thus weakens or paralyzes the injected muscle temporarily. And that means no wrinkles!
Using Botox to Relieve Jaw Pain
So, what other muscles could be partially weakened in order to decrease pain? Many of our patients clench their jaw muscles and grind their teeth causing extreme amounts of pain and problems with their teeth. This pain could be in the form of headaches, earaches, TMJ swelling and overall facial pain. And the problems from clenching and grinding teeth could be even worse: worn down, cracked & broken teeth. A simple, painless Botox injection into these “clenching muscles”, also know as masseters, could decrease and/or eliminate this pain for many of our patients.