BOTOX and other botulinum toxin injections have not been approved as a TMJ treatment , but it’s often used off-label to reduce jaw pain, headaches, and other symptoms of TMJ. We’ve talked about both the good and the bad aspects of this treatment.

Now a new study coordinated by New York University (NYU) professor Karen Raphael is going to attempt to determine whether using botulinum toxin to treat TMJ is worth the potential risks.

Pain Relief Today, Pathological Fractures Tomorrow?

The new study, which has received a $4 million grant, will take five years to complete. The study will be run out of NYU, but recruitment will be performed at intake centers coast to coast to ensure a large enough sample size for authoritative results.

Bone density changes will be measured over the course of the study using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), which will be analyzed at the University of Connecticut (UConn). Researchers hope to recruit at least 100 participants.

What Is the Tradeoff?

This study will answer an important question that we have to ask about any medical treatment: whether the side effects cause more harm than the treatment provides benefits. If Botox really does lead to jaw fractures, it’s likely that it’s not a good TMJ treatment, and should be reserved only for people who can’t get benefits from other treatments.

Fortunately, there are many other TMJ treatments that can be used first to help people get relief from common TMJ symptoms. If you would like to learn what options can help you, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.

UPDATE: Thanks to input from Dr. Raphael, this blog was updated to better reflect the structure of the study. Aug 11, 2017