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TMJ is the initialism for temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw (the mandible) to your skull at the temporal bone. This joint controls many jaw functions, like chewing. If the chewing muscles or the joint itself are causing you pain you may have temporamandibular disorder, or TMD. TMD can be caused by stress, continual clenching of the jaw muscles, or teeth grinding.

Some of the symptoms of TMD are:

  • Pain when opening or closing mouth
  • Trouble chewing
  • Jaw becoming stuck open or shut
  • Headaches or ear pain
  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening your mouth

At Pasadena Orofacial Pain Associates, Dr. Cebula provides the care of a board-certified orofacial pain specialist with two years of post-doctoral training at UCLA. As a patient in our practice, you will receive the highest quality non-surgical management of your TMJ Disorder delivered in as conservative manner as possible. Using the biopsychosocial method of pain management, Dr. Cebula will use both pharmocological and non-pharmocological modalites including behavior modification and physical therapy to provide the most effective care. This often means that TMJ surgery will not be necessary to manage your TMD.

The conservative management of TMD is supported by the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) as well as the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, a division of the National Institute of Health (NIH). You can read more about this by clicking the following links:

Initital Therapy

Once a diagnosis of TMD has been made, Dr. Cebula will customize a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs. This most often will include self-directed physical therapy in combination with NSAID medications as well as instructions to promote healing of your jaw and avoidance of future injury. In cases where muscular pain is more severe and there is a limitation of mouth opening, a skeletal muscle relaxer may be prescribed to improve your pain and range of motion.

BOTOX for TMJ Disorder

When conservative therapy (such as physical therapy or NSAID medications) is unsuccessful in treating TMD, Botulinum Toxin A (BOTOX) can be an effective means of managing more advanced cases of TMD where masticatory muscles are overactive or muscular pain is severe. BOTOX is a natural protein that is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum which is commercially purified and administered by injection. Injection of BOTOX into the muscles responsible for clenching and bruxing will cause relaxation of the muscles and reduction of pain. Like most medications, the effects of BOTOX eventually wear off and may need to be repeated every 10-12 weeks if symptoms persist.

If you have been unsuccessfully treated for TMD in the past, or conservative management has not produced adequate results, BOTOX is a safe and reliable option to consider. Contact Dr. Cebula to schedule an appointment to find out if BOTOX could help you.

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