Will Botox Help With My Jaw Muscle Spasms?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have had a problem since I was in 10 years old. I have visited many doctors but none have had a proper remedy. Ever since I have started feeling it, I am been taking medicines. And right now I am frustrated with taking medicines. The problem is that my face clamps down suddenly on my right upper and lower jaw while I am talking, eating, brushing or even when I am not doing anything. I have visited many neurologists and finally visited orthopedic surgeons but nothing works. I was just going through some internet sites and visited yours and would be very kind if you could help me out. Thank you.

A: While I don’t have the insights that would be provided by an actual examination or knowing what treatments you have had, your description sounds like a condition known as hemifacial spasm. This is caused by involuntary contractions of the muscles of mastication, the temporalis and masseter muscles. Since you have visited neurologists I will assume that causes of intracranial pathology (brain tumors, vascular lesions) has been excluded. I would recommend a series of Botox injections into those muscles which exhibit spasm. Botox is very effective for masseteric spasm in the treatment of bruxism and myofascial pain disorders.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana