Botox® Cosmetic is an FDA-approved treatment that is now available as an off-label treatment for bruxism (teeth grinding) as well as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMJD). The constant grinding or clenching of teeth can chip or crack teeth, thicken jaw and facial muscles, and “square” the outline of the face. These cosmetic effects are often accompanied by sore jaw and headaches, that could be severe and debilitating. Botulinum toxin type A or Botox® Cosmetic can relieve these symptoms by relaxing facial muscles and softening the facial appearance.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is characterized by pain and muscle stiffness in the jaw, with severe cases even producing lockjaw. Botox® Cosmetic’s ability to relax and smooth muscles has proven successful in remedying these symptoms.
Botox® Cosmetic is the most popular cosmetic treatment in the U.S., but its muscle-relaxing effects are more often applied to smooth fine lines and wrinkles on forehead and around the eyes. New studies show that Botox® Cosmetic is quite effective at managing bruxism and TMJ (TMJD) as well as many of the associated symptoms like jaw tension, thickening jaw musculature and aging of the lower face.1
A typical Botox® Cosmetic session lasts about 10minutes but may prove longer depending on the number of Botox® injections. You should have at least three sessions over the course of many months. You should see results like reduction of muscle tenderness and wrinkles in 3 to 7 days, but it may take up to 2 weeks. The effects of the Botox® last from 3 to 6 months.
Initial studies of Botox® as a treatment for teeth grinding and temporomandibular joint disorders are very positive. Although additional research is needed to confirm earlier study findings, small-scale studies reveal that Botox® is a safe and effective treatment even for patients with severe teeth grinding. For most patients in these studies, there was significant improvement in the amount and severity of teeth grinding.2
The current state of research into botulinum toxin therapies for TMJ (TMJD) mirrors that of bruxism. There aren’t a lot of studies into this particular therapy, but the studies that have been published indicate that Botox® is an excellent treatment that is comparable or superior to conventional TMJD therapies. In fact, a 2003 study concluded that 90 percent of patients who did not respond to other TMJ pain treatments experienced symptom improvement with Botox®.3
The actual cost of a Botox for TMJ or teeth grinding will depend on several factors including the severity of your condition, the size of the affected muscle(s) and amount of medicine you will need to achieve desired results. Botox® is comparable in price to other therapies for bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ). Other therapies are dental guards and occlusal splints are wearable oral devices that patients need to put into the mouth at night to protect the teeth. They are usually expensive, uncomfortable and for the most part not very effective.
During a Botox® procedure, your clinician will first evaluate your face by asking you to bite down and by palpating the masseter and surrounding muscles. Then he or she will clean and mark the injection sites. The injections are performed using a very small needle that many patients compare to a mosquito bite.
The number and placement of the Botox® injections will depend on the nature and severity of your Bruxism or TMJD condition. You should discuss your expectations and goals with your clinician prior to the procedure.
There is no downtime following the Botox® for TMJ procedure, and most patients are able to return to their normal activities immediately after the treatment.
If you are considering Botox® for teeth grinding or a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), one of our expert clinicians is available at our Manhattan, Bronx or Westchester locations to answer your questions.
Call 888.850.5225 to schedule your Free Consultation today.
1 J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 May;10(5):49-55.
2 J Am Dent Assoc. 2000 Feb;131(2):211-6.
3 J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2003 Jul;61(7):774-8.