Will Botox Injections Work for TMJ Pain?

Q: I’ve done Botox injections on my frown line and crow’s feet. Thinking about having Botox to treat TMJ pain and maybe some on my face. Please let me know if he accepts insurance for the Botox treatments.

A: The use of Botox to treat “TMJ’ problems  is done by numerous practitioners with variable degrees of success. Botox is a very specific treatment for muscle spasms and tightness or overactive muscles. The term TMJ, however, is a broad term that actually is a collection of different pain sites that is not really a unified diagnosis. For this reason, so called TMJ patients are being injected who may not be ideal candidates for a muscle treatment.

The best orofacial pain patients, in my experience, to get relief from Botox injections are the bruxism or clenching patient. This is a very specific masseter muscle problem that can be localized in most cases to the part of the masseter that is near the bony jaw angle. This is also a perfectly safe area to treat without causing any complications. The tight and painful muscle can be easily felt and the most painful part of the muscle specifically injected. These are also patients that have either been through or are currently undergoing some form of traditional mouth splint therapy. Often this treatment has failed or its effectiveness has decreased…as this is why they are seeking Botox injections.

Because the use of Botox for bruxism or as any part of TMJ problems is not FDA-approved, it is not eligible for insurance coverage.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana