Botox for TMJ

Everyone knows that it’s one of the best wrinkle reducers out there, but the use of Botox for TMJ pain is a hidden secret to combat the muscle spasm and tenderness that goes along with jaw joint pain.

Understanding Myofascial Pain

Botox for TMJ in Charleston, SCBefore considering Botox or Dysport you need to step back and gain a better understanding of the problem.  Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) are a broad category of conditions related to dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) including tenderness related to joint problems as well as tension and pain in the chewing muscles that directly affect the joint.

Botox and Dysport designed to improve the myofascial pain component of TMD.  Many of these patients also have a habit of grinding their teeth at night (“bruxism”).

When the joint does not line up properly it causes discomfort that can lead to muscle spasm, tenderness, and headaches.  These issues exacerbate each other, and it can be incredibly challenging to break the cycle of discomfort.

Dr. Rodwell’s emphasis on patient care has provided me with the best quality of life I have had in years. I would recommend him to anyone seeking treatment for their TMJ disorder.

— Ashton G.

Treatment Options

With a background in Head & Neck Surgery as well as Facial Plastic Surgery, Dr. Rodwell is fully aware that Botox is not a magical cure for the discomfort that accompanies TMJ problems.  The first steps should be aimed at correcting the underlying problem of joint dysfunction such as a poorly aligned bite, dentures with an improper fit, or other similar issues. Next, a trial of conservative management should be attempted before any surgical procedures or Botox injections.  This often includes a nighttime bite guard (“dental splint”) for people who grind their teeth at night.

TMJ treatment options Charleston, SC

If these fail to provide adequate relief then a trial of Botox injections may be indicated.


More Complicated Than You Think

The main targets for Botox injections are the masseter muscles (on the sides of the jaw) and the temporalis muscles (in the temples).  You can easily feel these if you clench your teeth.  The pterygoid muscles are also involved in chewing and movement of the jaw.  They are located on the inner surface of the jaw between the jaw and the back of the throat but are not typically treated with Botox except in severe cases.

Botox for TMJBotox or Dysport treatments involve injections directly into the muscles.  The challenging part is that these muscles are located in areas with extremely complex anatomy including numerous important nerves, blood vessels, and other vital structures.

The injections themselves are a very quick and easy process done during a routine office visit without any downtime.

A thorough understanding of the anatomy is extremely important to avoid any unwanted side effects.


Cosmetic Benefits

Botox injections for jaw pain have no effect on wrinkles.  However, they do have one really nice cosmetic benefit in addition to the life changing relief from chronic muscle spasm, tenderness, and headaches.

Botox and Dysport cause the muscles to weaken, and when that happens they will become smaller just like any other muscles in the body (similar to how your biceps might shrink if you stopped lifting weights for a few months).  This provides a slimming effect to the sides of the jaw which can be a very attractive improvement, especially in women.

botox masseter muscle

A more slim and narrow appearance after treating the muscles on the sides of the jaw. The patient appears more thin even at the same overall body weight.

Too much of a slimming effect in other areas such as the temples (related to temporalis muscle injections) may not be a good thing, and that is yet another reason why you need to trust your face to a specialist who understands the process of Botox injections for TMJ and the long-term impact that they might cause.  There is some control over this slimming effect — it should be subtle in most people but your treatments can be targeted to have more of an effect to reduce a wide square jaw appearance.

Dr. Rodwell has been operating in this delicate anatomic area for over 8 years.  He has extensive experience in performing Botox injections for jaw pain and uses Botox for cosmetic indications on hundreds of patients every year.
TMJ for Botox testimonial

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Click the image to the left to read the full testimonial from a patient describing her experience with Botox treatments for TMJ pain performed by Dr. Rodwell.


Dr. David Rodwell specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery including Botox injections.  To learn more about your options and what to expect after this procedure call our office at (843) 628-1415 to schedule a private consultation.