BOTOX for TMJ Disorder, Jaw Clenching, and Teeth Grinding

The same way BOTOX relaxes facial muscles to smooth lines and wrinkles, it can also relax facial muscles to ease the tension that causes TMJ disorder. We use BOTOX to treat TMD, tooth grinding, and jaw clenching.

TMJ, TMD, and Myofascial pain refer to different pathologies affecting the masticatory muscles, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and related facial structures. The TMJ and its associated muscles control chewing and movement of the jaw. It is a hinge joint connecting the mandible to the temporal bone of the skull.   TMJ pain is often the result of issues with the joint and/or surrounding muscles including, but not limited to, grinding/clenching of teeth, stress in facial muscles, dislocation of the disc, arthritis or trauma to the jaw.

Symptoms of TMJ related facial pain include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the face, jaw, neck, temples and shoulders
  • Limited range of motion concerning the jaw
  • Feeling of jaw being stuck or locked in position
  • Clicking, popping sounds in the jaw when opening and closing
  • Tense muscles in the face and neck
  • Difficulty chewing or feeling teeth aren’t coming together properly

If night guards and splints are not effective, the next line of treatment for TMD traditionally involves surgery—replacement of the temporomandibular joint, arthrocentesis, or full mouth reconstruction. BOTOX gives us a more conservative, minimally invasive alternative to these surgical procedures. Furthermore, BOTOX injections are more effective at relieving symptoms than surgery. BOTOX is an outpatient procedure with little-to-no side effects. It’s done right in our dental office. The length of treatment depends on the number of injections needed as determined by the doctor. Still, it is reasonable for the treatment procedure to be completed within 10-30 minutes.

The Procedure

By injecting small doses of botulinum toxin directly into the masseter muscle (the large muscle that moves the jaw), the muscle is weakened enough to stop involuntary grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. This significantly relaxes the muscle and reduces the wear and tear on the teeth due to grinding. Damage to the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and headaches should be reduced or eliminated as well.  Voluntary movements, such as chewing and facial expressions, are not effected at all by Botox®. Anesthesia and sedation are not needed for this treatment, and you’ll be able to return to your normal routine the same day.

You may experience soreness, redness, and some bruising at the injection sites after the procedure. These symptoms can be treated with cold compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers. Typically, patients experience improvement in their TMD symptoms within 7-10 days of their injections.

BOTOX is not a permanent solution for TMD. The effects of the injections will begin to wear off in about four months and then re-treatment is needed for continued symptom relief.


Does BOTOX help with clenching?

Yes, BOTOX is effective for relaxing your jaw muscles to prevent jaw clenching. If you suffer chronic headaches or migraines due to jaw clenching, BOTOX injections can often dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches.

How long does BOTOX for teeth grinding last?

BOTOX for teeth grinding usually lasts for three to four months, although this can vary from one patient to the next. 

Does BOTOX really work for TMJ?

Yes, BOTOX has proven to be one of the most effective treatment options for TMJ disorder. If you’ve suffered with chronic TMJ pain for months or even years, BOTOX is a great option for you!

When do you need BOTOX for TMJ?

BOTOX is usually recommended for TMJ if other treatment options haven’t provided relief. Usually we recommend trying self-managed care (warm compresses, soft food diets during flare-ups, etc.) and night guards before using BOTOX injections.

Is it safe to get BOTOX from a dentist?

Absolutely! Dentists have advanced training in facial anatomy and an in-depth understanding of the muscles in the face, which means they are highly qualified when it comes to administering BOTOX.

Is BOTOX for teeth grinding covered by insurance?

BOTOX for teeth grinding may be covered by medical insurance, but as of now is not covered by dental insurance. For many patients, BOTOX is worth the cost because of the relief it provides them, but if you’re concerned about the cost involved, we can work with you to try alternative solutions like a night guard.