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Botox® would not be considered first line treatment for this condition. Other modalities are important to look at, including management of the stressors with exercise, meditation, massage, psychotherapy, and protection of the teeth dentally with mouth guards. For this you would need to consult with your dentist.

To augment these treatments it is possible to inject small amounts of Botox® into the masseter muscle on either side to decrease the bite force strength. The muscle still works well, but is slightly weaker, decreasing the ability to grind and clench at night, but preserving functional capacity. The treatment generally works very well and may cause relief of all symptoms within a few days.

It is important to know that this indication for Botox is considered “off label” use, but with this kept in mind, the Doctor can assess if it will be safe and effective in you.

What does the treatment entail?

After an initial discussion and assessment, the doctor will map out the areas needed on your face that would benefit from injections with Botox®. Local anaesthetic cream is left on for about 10 minutes after which a series of tiny painless injections precisely place the Botox in the correct position. The injections take about 5 minutes.

How long does it take to work and how long will the effects last?

It takes approximately 4 days for Botox® to start to relax the muscles. The results last approximately 4 months, but may be shorter depending on the strength of the masseter muscles. To keep the effects, you will need to repeat treatments every 3 to 4 months. Over time, the effects will last longer and you may need only repeat the treatment every 6 months.

Who can administer BOTOX®?

It is administered by a healthcare professional (Doctor) only as a simple, nonsurgical treatment that is injected directly into the muscles in areas where it is needed. Expert training is required to perform the procedures to ensure a good result.

Is the procedure painful, and how long does it take?

The procedure is very non-invasive and does not require anything but an anaesthetic cream usually as painful as feeling a mosquito bite!

The entire consultation takes about 30 minutes. It is considered to be an outpatient procedure and people may return to their normal activities immediately.

Is Botox® safe and what are the possible side effects?

Botox turned 21 years old in 2010! It has been used for many years in other areas such as treating people with cerebral palsy and squint (strabismus), and in very small children. It was first registered by the FDA in the United States in 1989 and in South Africa in 1993. Its safety profile is tested and proven, and as long as a properly qualified medical doctor is injecting it, the results are predictable. It is important to know that this indication for Botox is considered “off label” use, but with this kept in mind, the Doctor can assess if it will be safe and effective in you.

The most common side effect after treatment is a small bruise which will fade rapidly after 2-4 days (even though this is also quite rare). Before your treatment the Doctor will also discuss any rare side effects which are possible, and answer any of your questions.

Are there other uses for BOTOX®?

Botox® is best known for its use in anti-aging and rejuvenation medicine. BOTOX® can also be used for:

  • To treat increased muscle stiffness in elbow, wrist, and finger muscles in adults with upper limb spasticity.
  • To treat the abnormal head position and neck pain that happens with cervical dystonia (CD) in adults.
  • To treat certain types of eye muscle problems (strabismus) or abnormal spasm of the eyelids (blepharospasm).
  • BOTOX® is also injected into the skin to treat the symptoms of severe underarm sweating (hyperhidrosis) when other treatments do not help.

Facts about Botox®

  • Botox® (botulinum toxin), used for both cosmetic and medical interventions, is a purified and diluted form of the clostridium botulinum bacteria toxin (a protein).
  • It is a prescription medicine that is injected into muscles and used to improve the look of moderate-to-severe wrinkles caused by underlying muscle movements.
  • Its beauty lies in its ability to relax the muscle that has been injected, resulting in a serene and unworried appearance.
  • If the word Botox® makes you feel slightly nervous, that’s because it reminds you of botulism, derived from the same bacteria, which you probably associate with food poisoning and paralysis. Happily, scientists have found a way of using the protein to human advantage for safe, controlled weakening of the muscles.

Contact the Doctor to see if Botox® can bring relief to your aching jaw…