The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the bones of your skull and moves your jaw up and down. It is fairly common to have problems with this joint (known as temporomandibular disorder or TMD) and this can cause a number of different symptoms including:
- Pain in the jaw, cheek, temple, neck and back
- Locking of the jaw
- Clicking or popping
- Problems when chewing
The possible causes of TMD include:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching)
- Wear and tear or injury to the jaw joint
- A misaligned bite
To diagnose TMD, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and carry out a medical evaluation. They may also take x-rays to check your jaw joint and see how your teeth bite together. Depending on their findings, they may suggest some of the following treatment options.
Treatment options and management techniques
Night guards – these are made from a flexible material and are similar to sports guards. They are specially made from impressions taken of your teeth, so they fit securely and comfortably. By wearing a night guard, they prevent your muscles from contracting fully and protect your teeth from wear.
Jaw Physio Exercises – your dentist will run through a series of physio exercises which will aim to stretch and relax the muscles and slowly relieve the pain. Other techniques include cognitive behavioural therapy and other stress management techniques such as yoga, massage and deep breathing.
Medication – anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling. Muscle relaxants can loosen tight muscles and anti-anxiety medicine can help relieve the stress can lead to teeth grinding and clenching. Topical ibuprofen gel may also be recommended by your dentist and they will show you where to apply the gel for localised relief.
Botox treatment of the chewing muscles to treat teeth grinding
In some patients, the masseter muscle (a chewing muscle) is enlarged creating extra facial width. Jawline reduction using anti wrinkle injections is a specialised technique to reduce the width of the jawline changing an overly square jawline to a more attractive oval or heart shaped face.
Some factors leading to a ‘masculine’ square jaw due to an enlarged masseter muscle include:-
- Ethinicity – The majority of men and women of Asian descent have a square jaw, which can add to the ‘masculine’ appearance
- The jaw muscle can expand in size due to constant or excessive chewing
- Teeth clenching or ‘Bruxism’(painful teeth grinding) – This can lead to the masseter muscle expanding or muscle hypertrophy
The anti-wrinkle product is selectively injected into the jawlines, which weakens this muscle over time leading to an overall reduction in the size of this muscle. The masseter jaw muscle continues to soften and is noticeable after 2 weeks. The jaw will continue to ‘slim’ down for another few months.
Procedure time (including consultation): 45 mins
On set of results: 4-6 weeks
Risks & Complications: Possible mild injection site swelling & bruising
Anaesthetic: Optional (not usually required)
Duration of results: 4-6 months
Results & Recovery time
This treatment is generally well tolerated with a few notable side effects, which include redness or swelling at the injection site, mild pain, numbness and headache. There is no downtime with this treatment and you are able to resume your daily activities immediately afterwards. Some of the treatments start to take effect from 3-5 days, with optimal results after 2 weeks. However, some of the more advanced procedures vary in duration length and effect of the results.*
*All of our treatments are bespoke for every individual and results may vary. They require minimal downtime and any potential side effects will be discussed during your consultation.
If you are experiencing any jaw pain or feel as though you are grinding your teeth and the above information is relevant to you then please do not hesitate to contact us and book in for a consultation. Our experiencing clinicians will be able to assess you and advise an appropriate treatment and management plan.