March 28, 2024

Does masseter Botox help with TMJ disorder?

Explore the benefits of masseter Botox injections to treat TMJ disorder. Get help with teeth grinding, migraines, ear pain and more with masseter Botox.

Reviewed by: Karmay Hung, DNP, AGACNP-BC, CEN
Table of Contents

Botox is popular thanks to its cosmetic benefits, but did you know that it is sometimes administered for medical conditions like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)? Masseter Botox, which is Botox injected into the jaw’s masseter muscles, can alleviate some of the symptoms of TMJ disorder. But is there any medical basis to this, and does masseter Botox actually help? Let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits of masseter Botox for TMJ issues.

How it works

Botox injections use a tiny amount of a toxin to freeze muscles in the face. This freezing effect helps to relax the muscles while also reducing their activity. This helps to lessen the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of aging.

Masseter Botox specifically targets the masseter muscles of the jaw. Masseter muscles are primarily responsible for helping with common jaw movements, like talking and chewing. By relaxing these muscles with Botox and releasing the tension, those suffering from TMJ disorder may find some relief from common symptoms like pain, teeth grinding and headaches.

But is there empirical evidence that masseter Botox actually works for TMD? Preliminary studies of masseter Botox for TMJ dysfunction have found that it is effective for relieving TMJ disorder pain and clicking noises1. However, more comprehensive clinical studies are necessary to fully understand the efficacy of masseter Botox for TMJ problems.

Benefits and risks

The primary benefit of masseter Botox is relief from TMD symptoms. Let’s take a quick look at all the benefits2 that masseter Botox offers:

  • Pain relief - Masseter Botox can help relax the jaw muscles, relieving tension and reducing jaw pain and discomfort.
  • Headache relief - TMD tension can lead to tension headaches and migraines. Relaxing the masseter muscles may lead to less frequent or less severe headaches.
  • Ease of movement - Relaxing the masseter muscles may lead to easier jaw movement, making common movements like talking and chewing more comfortable.
  • Nonsurgical - Masseter Botox is minimally invasive and nonsurgical. It can be a worthwhile treatment to try before resorting to more extreme treatment measures like surgical interventions.
  • Cosmetic benefits - Along with reducing TMJ disorder symptoms, masseter Botox offers cosmetic benefits as well. It can help slim the jawline and give it a more V-shaped contour.
  • Long-lasting results - Daily medications can offer temporary relief of TMJ dysfunction symptoms, but the effects of masseter Botox treatments can last for months. This can make symptom relief more manageable.
  • Convenience - Masseter Botox is also convenient. Sessions can take less than 30 minutes and patients can resume normal activities almost immediately.

Of course, no cosmetic or medical procedure is completely free of risks. It’s good to be aware of the potential complications of Botox treatment so you can make the best decision possible for your wellness goals. First, some people may not like the way Botox treatments make them look. The freezing effect of Botox can also affect expressiveness for some people. It’s worth noting that the effects of Botox are temporary, so these changes will gradually fade over time.

As for masseter Botox injections, the same principles apply. It is a generally safe procedure and countless patients have undergone this treatment. Mild side effects like pain or discomfort at the injection site, mild muscle weakness, and difficult chewing may occur after treatment.

It’s also possible to see aesthetic side effects if the injector is not careful. Misplaced injections in the nearby risorius muscle can temporarily affect the smile or lead to jowls. That’s why it’s essential to pick a reputable injector with a lot of experience. But more on that later.

There are also medical risks3 for Botox treatment. Some common side effects that can occur after treatment include:

  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Swelling or bruising at the injection site

Botox side effects may become serious in rare cases. Seek emergency medical care if you experience:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • Bladder issues
  • A rash or hive at the injection site


TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint. We have two temporomandibular joints that connect our jawbone to the skull. TMD is short for temporomandibular joint disorder. It refers to a variety of medical conditions that impact the function of your temporomandibular joints. This dysfunction can also affect the muscles around the joint, leading to pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.

There typically isn’t a singular cause for TMJ disorder, and it is often a combination of factors like previous jaw injury, arthritis, teeth grinding, stress and general wear on the jaw.

What are the symptoms?

The various symptoms of TMJ disorder can cause discomfort and negatively affect quality of life. The severity of symptoms can vary for individuals, but pain in the jaw, especially when chewing or speaking, is one of the most common signifiers.

Those with TMJ disorders typically experience a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw
  • Teeth grinding/bruxism
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Locking of your joint
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Popping or clicking of the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Tooth pain

Who is a good candidate for masseter Botox?

Masseter Botox may be beneficial for individuals who have been diagnosed with TMD. If attempts to alleviate TMJ dysfunction through traditional treatment methods have been unsuccessful, it’s a good idea to speak with your dentist or health care provider about the potential of Botox for TMJ disorder relief. They may agree that it’s a good avenue for addressing your symptoms.

Also, a referral isn’t necessary for getting masseter Botox treatment. You can set up an appointment and meet with a Botox specialist to discuss your concerns. They can determine if you’re a suitable candidate for Botox treatment and set up a treatment plan tailored to your goals and needs.

You may also be a good candidate for masseter Botox if you’re seeking the treatment for cosmetic purposes. Along with its potential benefits for TMD, masseter Botox can help slim the jaw and give it a more V-shaped appearance.

How much does it cost?

The cost of masseter Botox injection will vary based on factors like location, the experience of your provider and the number of Botox units needed for treatment.

On average, Botox units cost about $9 to $24 per unit in NYC on average, but it can vary by region. The masseter area is a fairly large area to treat, especially if you have large masseter muscles. While some areas of the face can cost as little as $200 to $300 for a treatment, the cost of masseter Botox will typically be more expensive.

As mentioned, the masseter areas are fairly large. Typically, you can expect for a masseter Botox treatment to include 20-30 units per side of the jaw, so around 40-60 units total. The range of units will depend on how strong the masseter muscles are in the individual. Some individuals with particularly strong masseter muscles may even need up to 50 units per side of the jaw. Going off our previously discussed price per unit in NYC, a masseter Botox treatment may cost anywhere from $360 to $960 for a 40 unit treatment.

It’s also worth noting that while Botox itself is FDA-approved for cosmetic treatment, it isn’t FDA-approved as a treatment for TMJ disorders. This means that insurance likely won’t cover treatment and that your costs will be completely out of pocket. Also, Botox treatments are temporary, so maintaining results may require treatment every three to six months.

Where to get masseter Botox

If you’re considering masseter Botox, it’s important to get treatment from a trained and experienced provider. Depending on what state you live in, your state laws dictate who can administer Botox.

Since every person’s face is unique, your injector should have a thorough understanding of facial muscle anatomy. The best injectors have this expertise and can personalize treatment to your unique facial structure to achieve optimal outcomes. Remember, all doctors and many nurses are required to learn facial anatomy, so it’s a good idea to pick an injector with advanced medical training and good reviews when receiving masseter treatment.

Typically, Botox treatments are administered by licensed physicians, physician assistants, surgeons, dentists or nurse practitioners. Remember, the quality of care is also important to consider when choosing a provider. Skill and expertise play a significant role in the success of treatment and achieving optimal results.

Other popular types of Botox treatment

Botox is effective for more than just TMD relief. In fact, Botox is primarily used as a cosmetic treatment. Here are some of the most common cosmetic concerns that Botox addresses:

  • Forehead wrinkles
  • Crow’s feet
  • Bunny lines
  • Mouth corners
  • Frown lines
  • Sagging eyebrows
  • Smoker’s lines
  • Neck bands

Botox can also be administered for medical conditions other than TMJ disorder. It is sometimes used for chronic migraines, excessive sweating and more.

Compare Botox® providers in NYC

Looking for Botox providers in NYC? You may quickly run into the problem that many New Yorkers experience when searching for cosmetic care – there are a lot of options with no easy way to compare them. That’s where Certainly comes in.

The Certainly platform makes it easy to compare Botox providers in NYC. Just enter your location and desired treatment in our search feature to compare providers and prices. Once you find your provider you can book your appointment directly through our platform.

Get Upfront Costs & Guaranteed Rates with Certainly Health

If you’ve ever been hit with a surprise bill after a cosmetic or medical treatment, you’re not alone. It can be increasingly difficult to find transparent pricing in the healthcare industry. Certainly is helping with this problem, too.

Through the Certainly platform, you can compare upfront costs and guaranteed rates for a variety of cosmetic and medical procedures. This means you can see the estimated price of your masseter Botox treatment and easily compare providers.

Ready to find your Botox provider in NYC? Use Certainly today.

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