Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction can be a painful condition affecting many parts of your life. Not only is it uncomfortable, but TMJ dysfunction can also affect your ability to eat and speak. One way to decrease pain with TMJ dysfunction is through TMJ filler. 


What is TMJ?

TMJ is a condition that causes pain, discomfort, stiffness, and clicking in the jaw. TMJ can happen for a variety of reasons. Often, patients develop TMJ from increased stress, which causes them to grind their teeth. Grinding your teeth can cause damage to the jaw muscle and bone, leading to TMJ. 


What are Traditional TMJ Treatments?

Relaxation therapy and stress management can help minimize TMJ symptoms. Additionally, many patients take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to reduce pain from TMJ. Some dentists may recommend reducing your diet to soft foods to limit your pain. Traditional dentists recommend that patients with TMJ reduce stress or wear a mouthguard. 

Patients can also use a mouthguard to protect their teeth from grinding damage. When you grind your teeth with a mouthguard, the teeth are protected from scratching and damaging the top layer of the tooth, the enamel. However, there is another way that your dentist may recommend treating your TMJ in conjunction with traditional methods. TMJ filler can reduce pain caused by TMJ Dysfunction. 


How Does TMJ Filler Work?

Filler, or botulinum toxin type A, treats TMJ by injecting a neurotoxin protein to create temporary muscle paralysis. Filler for TMJ treatment can be injected into a few different places. Often, dentists inject filler for TMJ in the forehead, temple, or jaw. Filler works to reduce TMJ pain by relaxing the muscles of the face.


What Happens During a TMJ Filler Appointment?

During your first TMJ Filler appointment, you and your dentist will discuss your concerns and treatment goals. Dr. Zhu will also examine your jaw. The conversation and examination will help him determine how many filler treatments you need. Dr. Zhu may give you multiple shots around your face during your first treatment. After the treatment, you can return to work and regular activities. Over the next few days, you will notice more and more improvement. Overall, the TMJ filler treatment lasts about 3-4 months. At that point, Dr. Zhu will assess if another treatment is necessary. 


Is TMJ Filler Painful?

Some patients that receive filler say that the injection is slightly uncomfortable, similar to a bug bite. However, at Yerba Buena Dentistry, our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible. Before the procedure, we can apply an anesthetic cream to the area to reduce pain or give you laughing gas to make you more comfortable during the process. Additionally, Dr. Zhu provides a comfortable environment during the procedure. Some patients also feel slight discomfort following the procedure. If this occurs, Dr. Zhu recommends placing an ice pack on the site. If you are nervous about your TMJ filler procedure, call our office today to find out how we can make the procedure more comfortable for you. 


Can I go to Work After the Procedure?

Yes. A TMJ filler procedure is non-surgical so that you can return to work following the procedure. Even if you have an anesthetic cream or laughing gas applied, both treatments are easily reversible and will not affect your ability to drive. We recommend that the only limitation is to avoid touching the injection site following the treatment. This gives the medication a chance to sink into the skin and avoid moving to other areas. Additionally, we recommend sitting upright for a few hours following the treatment. TMJ filler is a relatively quick procedure that can be done in-office, resulting in just a few days. 

If you are experiencing discomfort from TMJ dysfunction, call our office today. We offer traditional TMJ treatments along with TMJ filler. For more information about TMJ filler or to schedule an appointment, call our office today.

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