All You Need to Know About Our Masseter Treatment

October 15, 2023

Teeth clenching and teeth grinding—we have all been there! Situations and times when your jawline felt tense and tight. For most, it is an uncommon, seldom occurrence, but for others, it can be a daily grind (pun intended!). For those of us that continuously clench and grind, it can become problematic, from jaw, neck, and headaches to the unwanted appearance of a squarer, wider jawline. Let's sit down and discuss all things Botox and the jawline, how it works, and who is likely to be suitable for this game-changing treatment.

What is Teeth Clenching and Grinding?

The masseter muscle is one of the larger muscles in the face and pound for pound, is considered the strongest muscle in the human body, even stronger than your gluteus maximus. It is one of the muscles of mastication or chewing. For most, the muscle just does its thing, and we don't really notice it as it does its job. For other patients, the muscle can be somewhat overactive and can cause tightness, pain, and unwanted aesthetic effects such as a squared-out jaw. Bruxism is the medical term we use to describe this. Patients that clench during the day, grind at nighttime, and this is where the issues start to arise. The constant use of the masseter muscle, like any muscle that undergoes continuous exercise, causes it to get bigger and stronger (hypertrophy). This can often lead to pain and a feeling of always being tight and sore.

What Happens If You Always Clench and Grind Your Teeth?

If you're a gym bunny and love working out, then this will make total sense! If a muscle undergoes repeated exercise, it will in time get bigger and stronger. When the masseter muscle is always engaged and working, even at nighttime for those that grind, it will become bigger and thicker. The visual effect can result in a wider, squarer set jaw that in females can harden the facial aesthetic, resulting in somewhat a more masculine facial profile. In terms of functional effects, the increase in density and strength of the masseter muscle can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and tightness. Some patients will begin to experience temporal headaches, as often the temporal muscle will also begin to work a little harder. In certain patients, the masseter pain can result in neck pain or cervical pain. Patients will typically wake in the morning with a tight, sore feeling in their jawline; often rubbing the area can help temporarily alleviate this.

How Does Botox for Teeth Clenching Work?

Botox, or Onabotulinum Neurotoxin Type A, is a muscle relaxer and reduces the activity of muscle. There are numerous uses for Botox in medicine, such as orthopedic, neurology, and general medicine. Botox is injected into the masseter muscle at set points; it takes about 4-6 days to start working and is at its maximum at 2 weeks. The softening and reduction of mass in the muscle continue to take effect until about 5-6 weeks post-treatment. The initial phase of the treatment results in the muscle relaxing, with a noticeable reduction in the tight feeling; the latter stage of the treatment results in the muscle bulk decreasing, slimming the face. The treatment lasts about 5-6 months.

Does Botox Slim the Face?

Yes, one of the effects of treating the masseter muscle with Botox is that it slims the face. Most people with bruxism or hypertrophic masseter muscles have thicker, stronger muscles at this point. When the Botox takes effect, the result is a slimmer, less square-looking face. This is extremely popular with female patients, as it softens the lower border of the face, allowing for a more feminine aesthetic.

Is There Downtime with Masseter Botox?

In short, no. The treatment is quick, taking about 4-5 minutes to do, and on average has about 3-4 injection points per side. You can feel a little pinch, but the treatment is well tolerated by patients. A few days later, the jaw will begin to feel a little less tight; some patients note that if they are chewing foods that require lots of mastication, the jawline can feel a little tired; again, this is the muscle starting to relax.

Who is Suitable for Masseter Botox?

If you have jaw tightness, stiffness, and discomfort from grinding, then you are the ideal candidate for Masseter Botox. On the aesthetic front, anyone who feels their lower jawline is getting wider over time is also suitable for the treatment. At Sisu Clinic, the use of Botox for teeth clenching and grinding is bespoke and tailored to the patient; the dose is calculated on physical assessment by your treating aesthetic provider. This allows for a custom effect that works in harmony with your facial anatomy; a results-focused approach is key to achieving the best results.

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