Despite the positive reports on Botox’s effectiveness, there’s controversy in the dental community surrounding the treatment, which indicates that its short-term effectiveness — typically a window of three to five months — leads to repeated treatments at higher doses. Additionally, researchers at NYU’s College of Dentistry have stated that though there is no comprehensive study on the long-term effects of high-dose Botox usage in the jaw, the treatment has been linked to muscle atrophy and loss of jaw bone density.
Though Botox has yet to be approved by the FDA as a treatment for TMD(via Healthline), doctors continue to use it at patients’ request. The Mayo Clinic cites other helpful treatments for TMD and teeth grinding, including pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medicines, muscle relaxants, and even certain antidepressants that can lessen discomfort. For non-medicinal routes, folks with TMD can also learn exercises, massage techniques, and relaxation techniques from their dental care team to reduce tension and strengthen muscles in the jaw. Icing and heating are also considered valid pain treatments, as well as acupuncture.
Unlike the Mayo Clinic, The Cleveland Clinic has Botulism Toxin, aka Botox, listed as a treatment for TMD. The website states, “These injections help reduce muscle mass and inflammation.” Cleveland does also recommend a mouthguard to align your teeth and jaw, reducing your jaw’s range of motion and keeping your teeth apart slightly when possible. They suggest placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth in order to relieve pressure on the jaw as another helpful trick.