Best TMJ Treatment?

Beverly Hills physician Doctor Simon Ourian M.D. discusses treating TMJ with Botox injections. He believes it’s the best available treatment to deal with this painful problem.

Doctor Simon Ourian is the Medical Director of Epione Beverly Hills, located in the exclusive shopping, restaurant and hotel enclave in Los Angeles, California. “If asked, I’d say my practice is devoted exclusively to minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, “ says Doctor Ourian, “but the fact is we are finding therapeutic uses for products such as Botox all the time. One such example, the use of Botox to treat TMJ, in my experience, can be life-changing for some patients.”

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, sometimes known as TMD, affects an area that includes the jaw, the muscles surrounding the jaw, the hinge jaw joint and the temporal bone of the skull. The hinge jaw joint is the bridge for the lower jaw or mandible and the temporal bone is located in front of each ear. These joints and muscles work together and a problem with either one can lead to headaches, bite problems, ear pain, stiffness, clicking and even locked jaws.

It is believed that certain behaviors may lead to the development of TMJ in an individual patient:

  • Teeth grinding and clenching
  • Misalignment of the teeth
  • Fingernail chewing and biting
  • Gum chewing
  • Stress

It is believed that more than 15% of adult Americans suffer some level chronic facial pain. “TMJ probably effects men and women equally, “ states Doctor Ourian, “at least in my practice. I’ve been treating patients with TMJ with Botox for several years now and it is truly gratifying to relieve their suffering with what is, essentially, a simple procedure. And I don’t use the word ‘suffering’ lightly; some of my patients have had debilitating and life-altering pain for years, even decades.”

Doctor Ourian continues, “To start, I usually inject Botox into the frontalis, masseter and temporalis muscles. I inject only those muscles that are causing a problem so that jaw function is not impacted. It’s not uncommon, once the pain of opening and closing of the jaw is treated for functionality to increase.”

How long do the results last? “It’s not unusual for a patient to be pain free for four months or more after one Botox treatment, ” replies Doctor Ourian. “And as I’ve found with other Botox treatments, the effects may be cumulative, the muscles become progressively weaker and fewer injections may be necessary or treatments may be scheduled further apart.”

“It’s almost impossible to understate the impact these Botox treatments have had on the lives of some of my patients, “ says Doctor Ourian, “I had a female patient who wept with joy. Her TMJ pain was excruciating and was the dominating factor in her life essentially dictating what she did or didn’t do on a daily basis. That she suffered to this extent and I was able to help her is both gratifying and humbling.”

“In all the time I’ve been practicing as a physician, “ concludes Doctor Ourian, “I have not seen another treatment modality achieve superior results for the treatment of TMJ than Botox injections.”