Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and Myofacial Pain

Symptoms and Causes

TMJ dysfunction and myofacial pain can cause chronic or recurring debilitating, frustrating issues. Many patients suffer from headaches, popping or clicking joints, ringing in the ears, neck pain, and limited mouth opening, among other problems. We offer services designed to remedy pain and correct the imbalance in the jaw joints. Dr. Dag Zapatero also treats the occlusion and bite relationships to achieve whole-mouth harmony.

TMJ disorders cause tenderness and pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) the joint on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull. This joint allows you to talk, chew and yawn.  Pain is present when the joint becomes misaligned or damaged.

Between 5 and 15 percent of people in the United States experience pain associated with TMJ disorders, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the National Institutes of Health. Women are more likely than men to develop TMJ disorders.

In most cases, pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be alleviated with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments.

Symptoms associated with TMJ disorder include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw or around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing
  • Aching facial pain, headaches, or migraines
  • Difficulty opening or close your mouth, or a limited lateral movement of the jaw
  • Uncomfortable bite that may be uneven bite, because one or more teeth are making premature contact
  • Neck or Shoulder pain
  • Ringing in the ears

If you have persistent pain or tenderness in your TMJ, if you have facial pain and experience clicking or grating when you chew or move your jaw, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely, contact us.  We have have a tremendous amount of success in working with people with TMJ issues.  We will discuss possible causes and treatments of TMJ disorders with you.  Including splint therapy, occlusal adjustments (selective grinding of the top surface of the teeth to removed known interferences), surgery, physical therapy, and medications.

Use of BOTOX in the Treatment of TMD

Dr. Dag Zapatero has pioneered the therapeutic use of BOTOX/Xeomin in the treatment of TMD clenching and bruxism associated with muscle hyperactivity, in our Hampton Roads Communities.  Some patients who have not found relief with conventional splint or night guard therapy have found significant and immediate relief with BOTOX/Xeomin.  

By injecting Botox/Xeomin into the muscles of muscle, typically the masseter and temporalis, we temporally paralyze the muscles and decease the forces placed on the jaw, teeth.  Chewing and smiling are not affected. The treatment alleviates the tension and stress on the muscle, thereby reducing pain significantly in two to three days.  The effects of Botox/Xeomin usually last 3-4 months at which time we re-evaluate the patient.  Typically a patient is injected every 3-6 months for a year and a half.

Over time, if the muscle stays relaxed, they will shrinks in size and makes the jaw look less prominent, and creating a softer look. Patients notice that as their jaw shrinks, they look younger because an oval shape to the face looks younger and softer than the square, angular shape conferred by a large masseters muscle.