A lot of people have wondered whether I get Botox. And because I’m all about being open and honest about these things, the answer is yes—but not in the way you might be thinking.
I have TMJ, aka temporomandibular joint dysfunction. TMJ is a fairly common syndrome that involves clenching your jaw, creating intense tension and pain. For me, it happens when I’m overly stressed. Along with the tension in my jaw, TMJ was creating headaches and strained neck muscles, not to mention soreness after grinding my teeth at night. Even with a night guard, I’d get a full night of rest and wake up absolutely aching from the neck up.
Over the years, I’d spoken with a doctors who suggested treating TMJ with Botox injections, but that idea made me a little nervous—wasn’t it a drastic step? And wouldn’t the needle hurt? As time went on, though, the tension kept getting worse. So a year ago, I decided to try Botox for my TMJ. I made an appointment with Dr. Jason Diamond, a board-certified surgeon who is known for his expertise and precision in injections. When I told him about my TMJ symptoms, he said that a minimal amount of Botox on both sides of my jawline would help those muscles relax. I’d still be able to talk, eat, and do everything else normally, but those muscles would just be a little more… mellow.
The injections themselves took almost no time at all. Just a little pinch on either side of my jaw, and I was done. By that evening, I could feel the tension beginning to unwind. That night, I slept better than I’d slept in months—maybe even years. As my muscles continued to relax, I felt such incredible relief. I should have done it years before I did! Now I go back to Dr. Diamond when my TMJ symptoms flare up, with at least six months between appointments.
So that’s the truth. Yes, I get Botox for TMJ, I’m talking about it because it’s been an enormously effective treatment for me. If you have similar problems with TMJ, it can’t hurt to talk with your doctor to see if Botox (or another neurotoxin) might be right for you.
And as for the rest of my face? Totally Botox-free. I’ve had makeup artists and dermatologists suggest preventative Botox so that I won’t develop lines in the future, but I’m an actress. I need to maintain full expressive use of my facial muscles for work. In the meantime, though, the only Botox you’ll find is in my jaw. —Ashley