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3 Frequently Asked Questions About Botox Injections in Masseter Muscles Donald Tanenbaum DDS

3 Questions & Answers About BOTOX® Injections For TMJ

Author: Donald Tanenbaum DDS MPH - Board-Certified Orofacial Pain Specialist at New York TMJ & Orofacial Pain

Date: September 6, 2018

BOTOX® first became popular as a way to reduce wrinkles and facial lines. But being treated with BOTOX® injections for TMJ problems has become very popular. It is effective in treating pain and/or overactive muscles – when administered by a trained and experienced professional.

As an orofacial pain specialist, I often turn to BOTOX® for TMJ symptoms in patients whose pain has not responded to traditional first-line therapies such as exercises, medications, relaxation techniques, oral appliances, etc.,

If you’re at a point where nothing has provided relief from your painful TMJ symptoms, BOTOX® injections for TMJ could be the next step. BOTOX® is injected into your masseter muscles – the big muscles that bring your teeth together and bulge when you clench your teeth.

Naturally, a lot of questions pop up when I recommend BOTOX® injections for TMJ to my patients. Here are three of them:

3 Frequently Asked Questions BOTOX® Injections For TMJ

“One side of my face has a more developed masseter muscle than the other side. Will BOTOX® for TMJ improve the symmetry of my face?”

Yes, BOTOX® injections for TMJ can be used to achieve facial muscle symmetry. But here’s the important thing to know. It must be injected with a protocol that will selectively reduce the muscle bulk. Both the location and volume of BOTOX® used must be carefully planned to achieve the result desired.

Don’t go forward until you find a practitioner who is highly trained and experienced in this type of treatment.

“How do I know if, or when, I will need more BOTOX® injection for TMJ?”

BOTOX® is injected into the jaw (masseter) muscles for one of two reasons: The first, and most common, is to reduce pain. The second reason that patients opt to have BOTOX® injected into their masseters is to slim down their jaw profile. Many people develop large, bulky jaw muscles as a result of clenching and grinding their teeth, which is called Bruxism.

If pain was the reason you chose BOTOX®, you’ll know you need more treatment if the pain returns and you have controlled all the risk factors that brought on the pain in the first place. If your pain is significantly diminished or completely gone, you may not need more injections.

For pain relief, the current protocol has defined waiting a period of three months between injections.

If achieving a slimmer-looking jaw was your reason for pursuing BOTOX®, what you see in the mirror is the indication that you need more BOTOX®. It is likely that more than one session of BOTOX® injections will get the job done, so keep that in mind.

In addition, if you have not learned to reduce the behaviors that made your jaw muscles larger, or addressed the impact of sleep bruxism if present, results will take longer to achieve and may never be fully satisfying.

Learn about the behaviors that cause enlarged jaw muscles and what you can do about them here.

“If I just stop chewing gum and eating hard food, will my bulky jaw slim down so I don’t need BOTOX® injections?

Your bulky jaw is the result of your masseter muscles being overworked over the course of many years. If you simply stop those activities your muscles aren’t going to slim down on their own. You are probably a good candidate for BOTOX® injections for TMJ.

But as long as you continue the behaviors that made your jaw bulky in the first place, such as teeth grinding and clenching, the results of the BOTOX® won’t last long. 

The Bottom Line

BOTOX® can be highly effective as a treatment for the pain and jaw bulkiness that are symptoms of TMJ problems. However, if administered improperly it may not work or even produce some very unpleasant outcomes. 

How To Find A TMJ Specialist

To find an orofacial pain specialist who’s trained and experienced in your area, go to this website www.aaop.org. Look for a specialist in your area with the designation Diplomate. If you live in the New York City metropolitan area, feel free to call my office at 212-265-0110 to discuss your case. I’d be honored to help you feel better.

Have more questions about BOTOX® for TMJ in the masseter muscles? Feel free to comment below:

DISCLAIMER: The advice offered in response to your questions is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. Namely, we in no way offer a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendation for your particular situation. Our intent is solely educational and our responses to your actual questions serve as a springboard to discussion of a variety of dental topics that come up in a day-to-day dental practice. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified professional.

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