TMJ pain is relatively common across the population – a 2002 study in Sweden showed that 6.7% of men and 12.4% of women experience pain from the temporo-mandibular joint or ‘TMJ’ as it is commonly known.
The study also showed that just over 15% of men and 20% of women experience bruxism (tooth-grinding).
What is the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ)?
The TMJ is shown in the Xray below. The temporo-mandibular joint connects the lower mandible (jaw bone) with the skull and allows the mouth to open and close.
How to treat TMJ pain
Thankfully, a large proportion of TMJ pain resolves over time, without treatment. A 2007 paper in the American Family Physician journal reported that approximately 50 % of patients improve in one year and 85 % improve completely in three years without treatment (1).
Treatment options that you can try at home to relieve the pain include:
- eating softer foods
- avoiding extreme jaw opening
- stress relieving relaxation techniques
- gentle jaw stretching
Medications that can help TMJ pain include:
- anti-inflammatory medication such as nurofen may provide short term relief from TMJ discomfort
- tricyclic anti-depressants – these can be used to treat TMJ pain and also pain from tooth grinding (bruxism)
- a fitted mouth guard / stabilisation splint can be used at night to reduce discomfort. This is often fitted by a dentist
- anti-wrinkle injections into the masseter muscle (bite muscle) and temporalis muscle can reduce TMJ pain in some patients.
How anti-wrinkle injections can help treat TMJ pain
A 2017 paper in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (2) looked at the effect of anti-wrinkle treatment on 77 patients with TMJ dysfunction and tension-type headache who has not had relief from a night mouth-guard and physiotherapy. The patients had both the masseter and temporalis muscles injected. Results showed that 77% of patients reported a beneficial effect from anti-wrinkle injections.
Anti-wrinkle injections are injected into the masseter muscle (the bite muscle, shown above) and into the temporalis muscle (the muscle on the side of the head).
How many anti-wrinkle units are used to treat TMJ pain?
We typically use the following units to treat TMJ pain:
- 25 units into each masseter muscle = 50 units
- 10-15 units into each temporalis muscle = 20-30 units
- Overall we use between 70 and 80 units to treat both the masseter and temporalis muscles. Individual doses can vary depending on the size and strength of the muscles
How many injections will I need?
Thankfully – 70 units does not mean 70 injections! We typically use 5 injections into each masseter muscle and 4 injections into each temporalis muscle.
How much does TMJ treatment cost?
We charge $11 per unit so the treatment is likely to cost around $550. This can vary depending on the strength of the muscle in each patient and your treatment may cost slightly more or slightly less.
How painful is the treatment?
TMJ treatment is one of the least uncomfortable treatments that we perform at Cityskin. Injections feel similar to plucking a hair or a small mozzie bite.
How many masseter / TMJ treatments do you perform per year?
We treat approximately 500 patients per year for tooth grinding / masseter treatment so you can be assured that you are being treated by experienced practitioners.
How much does a consultation cost at Cityskin?
We do not charge for consultations at Cityskin.
How do I book an appointment?
You can book an appointment with our experienced practitioners using the button below
- Jennifer J. Buescher. Temporomandibular Joint Disorders. Am Fam Physician 2007;76:1477-82, 1483-84.
- Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2017 Mar;46(3):322-327. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2016.11.004. Epub 2016 Nov 28.