For some time now, dermal fillers have been known for their cosmetic properties of filling in recessed scars, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and plumping lips. But do dermal fillers have any application in treating pain and dysfunction of the TMJ (temporomandibular joint)?
What Are Dermal Fillers Made Of?
Most dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid. This acid is actually a protein that occurs naturally in the protective fluid surrounding joints. The substance helps to plump up areas of the face and neck for cosmetic enhancement, but like botulinum toxin, it can also be used to treat pain and dysfunction in the jaw.
How Can Hyaluronic Acid Help?
Hyaluronic acid is used to treat body joints that suffer from osteoarthritis. The protein is injected into the region around a joint, providing added lubrication and cushion. Recent studies indicate that for a jaw impaired by stress or osteoarthritis, the injection of a dermal filler containing hyaluronic acid could provide significant relief.
What is Treatment with Dermal Fillers Like?
Treatment is provided by a qualified practitioner in a simple office procedure. Some digital imaging may be done beforehand to provide an accurate image of the jaw for successful administration of the filler. Local anesthetic is placed before the injections are given to make the procedure more comfortable. Depending upon the exact product used and your individual needs as determined by your provider, treatment may include three to five injections each week for a number of weeks.
Are the Fillers Safe?
To date there have been no serious side-effects reported with use of hyaluronic acid as a treatment option for TMJ disorder. If you suffer from TMJ pain or dysfunction, ask your dentist about how dermal fillers can help you.
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