Would SMAS Lift Help TMJ?

Would an SMAS lift help with the TMJ I have? The right side of my face sags more that the left. I think this is caused by TMJ. I have managed to grind the teeth on the right side down through my gold crown's. I even have a mouth guard.

My understanding is that an SMAS Face Lift would tighten the jaw line muscles. I hit my chin on the right side in 1979 while mounting my horse. I did not notice till later that I have a bone the sticks out on bottom of chin. I have been asked if I have Bell's (something or other) because of the sagging jaw. Do you think it would be covered by insurance?

Doctor Answers 23

Facelift may help appearance, but won't fix your TMJ problems

TMJ is short for Temporo-Mandibular Joint. If you are having pain or other trouble with your TMJ, the increased jaw tension or joint stress would not typically cause your face to sag. It is unclear to me what deformity you have now is due to the trauma you describe 31 years ago. Surgery to fix a deformity due to "medical reasons" (such as trauma or cancer) may be covered by insurance, but surgery to improve facial appearance alone would not be covered by insurance.

The one muscle that a SMAS-type facelift may tighten is the platysma muscle. The rest of the SMAS facelift does not tighten muscles, but rather tightens or lifts the tissue above the muscles. The facelift can help the sagging appearance of the neck, but would not be expected to relieve your TMJ problems. Even if your platysma muscle was contributing somehow to your TMJ problem, lifting it or tightening it would not necessarily help your symtoms.

Also, a facelift would not address your teeth grinding (bruxism). As a side note, Botox has been used for relieving jaw tension and helping with teeth grinding. I personally do not inject Botox for bruxism, so I do not know if that is covered by insurance. The best way to find out is check with your insurance provider.

Good luck!

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Facelift will not help TMJ

TMJ issues are a constellation of problems that occur as a result of inflammation in the temporomandibular joint or inflammation in the tissue surrounding the joint.  It is unlikely that the facial asymmetry you have is associated with TMJ though it could be associated with an earlier injury.  A SMAS facelift does tighten the SMAS (a layer of tissue that interconnects the facial muscles that move the face).  It does not tighten the jaw muscles enough to create a change in shape of the jaw.  

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

SMAS lift will not help TMJ

A SMAS lift involves tightening the platysmal muscle in the posterior portion of the neck and the anterior portion of the neck.  It also tightens the fascia layer along the high cheek area below the eye.  A SMAS facelift has no bearing whatsoever on the temporomandibular joint or jaw line muscles.  These are 2 completely separate issues.  You should see a TMJ specialist, usually a dentist, who can properly address the TMJ pain that you are experiencing. For many examples, please see the link below to our facelift photo  gallery

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

TMJ and SMAS lift

The SMAS lift repositions the underlying fat and to some degree the fine muscles beneath it to a more youthful position but does not result in tighter facial muscles. A  SMAS facelift should not  improvement yourTMJ problems.. Best bet is cosult with a TMJ specialist.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

SMAS Lift and TMJ

The SMAS lift actually does not tighten the facial muscles.  The SMAS layer is superficial to the muscle layers and allows for a repositioning of facial fat.  Performing a SMAS lift will not provide any improvement in TMJ problems.  I would recommend that you follow up with a TMJ specialist.  

Michael Sundine, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Facelift will not improve TMJ

A facelift is for cosmetic purposes and would have no effect on the improvement of your temporomandibular joint problems. It would also not be covered by insurance as it has no functional component.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

TMJ not helped by SMAS lift

I agree that there should be NO representation to you that lifting the deeper structures as is done in a face lift will benefit your TMJ. This delicate joint needs to be evaluated by an Oral Surgeon.

Charles Virden, MD
Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

TMJ and the SMAS

the answers are no, no , no and no way. the mimetic muscles (facial expression) are not related to the muscles of mastication (TMJ, chewing). cosmetic surgery is cosmetic. not functional. It is simply not covered. anyone who offers to do you a favor and "get it covered" is not donig you any favor. see you DDS/oral surgeon for tx of your TMJ. good luck

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Treatment of TMJ

Thanks for the question about facelifting and TMJ. A facelift would, unfortunately, not help with your TMJ. The SMAS layer of the face, which is tightened in most current approaches to rejuvenating the face, has nothing to do with the temperomandibular joint.

You should seek out a dentist or oral surgeon to have your bruxism (teeth grinding) and TMJ evaluated. I have had very good success injecting the masseter muscles (bite muscles) with Botox in patients with severe teeth grinding who have failed other treatments such as bite guards. 

Best of luck,

Dr. Mehta

Umang Mehta, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 49 reviews


Their is no relationship between SMAS lifting and TMJ.  Most causes of TMJ can be traced to excessive tension along the masseter muscle, as well as temporalis in select cases.  A SMAS lift will not  effect this dynamic.

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 166 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.