We can always count on Jenni Farley (a.k.a. JWoww) to tell it like it is, so it is no surprise she took fans inside the dentist’s office with her as she underwent a reconstruction procedure and Botox injections to correct the effects of chronic teeth grinding, clenched jaw and TMJ (the inflammation of the hinge joint that connects the jaw to the temporal bones). JWoww filmed her experience with husband and wife duo Drs. Elisa Mello and Ramin Tabib of NYC Smile Design and shared it on her YouTube channel, and we got the scoop from the docs about the former reality star’s parenting stressors, how to fix them and why they are more common than you might think.
“I’ve got some mommy problems,” says JWoww in a video chronicling her time at the dentist. “Since Meilani, I’ve developed a really hard clenched jaw. I think it’s from the stress of being a mom, not sleeping and all the drama in between.”
In addition to causing daily pain, the years of grinding and clenching had also taken their toll on her mouth and jaw. “I am actually going to get Botox in my jaw to relax the muscles and in my temple, so when I sleep at night I am not grinding my teeth,” the mom-of-two shares. “And Dr. Tabib is actually going to reconstruct my jawline and teeth because I’ve been doing it for so long my back teeth are legitimately like spears.”
In the video, Dr. Tabib explains that, over time, constant clenching and pressure wears down the teeth, causing cracks and fissures. The jaw, meanwhile, becomes structurally compromised. To correct the problem, he places temporary caps on patients’ teeth that help improve jaw function over time, and Botox injections are often recommended to further reduce the pain and muscle spasms associated with TMJ and the likes.
While we often think of Botox for its cosmetic benefits, it is used in a variety of medical capacities as well. In this case, Dr. Mello tells Us about 70 units (though it varies by person) are injected into the masseter jaw and temporalis temple muscles. Because the muscles are larger, it takes anywhere from 10 days to two weeks after the injection to kick in and the results (think: pain and muscle spasm reduction, a decrease in clenching and a slimming in the cheeks) lasts three to four months.
“Many of our patients who get Botox have had the underlying issues unaddressed for so long that they grind their teeth way down and lose all support for their facial muscles,” she explains. “These patients wind up needing restorative reconstruction. There are just as many other patients who benefit from orthodontic treatment to correct their changed bite or simply a treatment of Botox over about a year and a custom night guard.”
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to correcting the symptoms JWoww and so many others are dealing with, Dr. Mello recommends talking with your dentist to better understand the underlying condition and available remedies. JWoww, meanwhile, shares in her video that she is thrilled with the results.
“It’s been a couple months since I started the Botox in my jaw … and my teeth grinding has substantially went away. I don’t wake up in the middle of the night with that lock jaw tightness,” she says. “I feel like … I’ve still got that tech chin going, but it’s a little more relaxed now because I am not so tense. Overall, I am beyond thrilled.”