Botox® has a time-tested reputation for minimizing wrinkles, so it’s no surprise that it’s the most requested treatment for positive aging in Canada. I’ve written about it extensively in previous blog posts, here and here

Maybe you’ve also heard that Botox is also used to treat patients who clench and/or grind their teeth. Unless you’re a clencher or a grinder, you might not understand the associated problems which can include tooth breakage, soreness or acute pain, migraines, and interrupted sleep. Getting a Botox treatment—basically an injection to the masseter muscle—can lead to much-needed relief and better sleep.

The masseter muscle, you ask? This is the facial muscle that connects your lower jawbone and your cheekbone—and it’s essential for chewing solid foods. When you bite your teeth together, you can see this jawline muscle pop out. 

Are masseter MUSCLE injections used for anything else?

Most people don’t know that Botox injections in the masseter muscle serve a purpose in medical aesthetics too. As many of us know, there is a “squaring” of the jawline as we age and the masseter injection helps patients slim and soften the look of their jaw. 

The Botox essentially relaxes the muscles by blocking the nerves that send signals to clench. You’ll still be able to chew but your masseter muscle movement will be limited. Because of the reduced activity, your muscle shrinks in size—and so does your jawline. 

What’s involved in the masseter procedure?

Always start by consulting with your medical aesthetics doctor. They’ll examine your jawline, discuss your reasons for wanting the procedure, and review your medical history to see if there are any underlying conditions—bleeding disorders, allergies to botulinum toxin, neuromuscular disorders, for example— that would prevent you from getting this treatment. If everything lines up, you can book your procedure. 

Botox injections are minimally-invasive and in-office treatments. 

On treatment day, your doctor will clean the skin to minimize the chance of infection. They’ll then mark up your cheekbones and lower jawbone where the masseter muscles are located. Finally, they’ll inject the Botox. The amount will depend on the size of your muscles and the issue you’re seeking to resolve. 

Post-treatment, your doctor may massage the area to help settle the Botox and reduce the chance of swelling and bruising. You’ll be able to go back to your day-to-day activities as soon as you leave the office! You might experience some fatigue when chewing, or bruising and/or soreness around the injection site but these side effects are normal and should resolve themselves within a few days. 

Is the procedure safe?

For a safe and successful procedure, you’ll need a seasoned medical aesthetics doctor. Performing botox injections in the jaw muscles requires knowledge and finesse and when done correctly, the results are amazing. Done incorrectly, there can be complications and unwanted effects including smile limitations, sunken cheeks, and sagging jawlines. 

So make sure you do your homework and find an experienced doctor who understands the anatomy of the jaw muscles. (Here’s a handy checklist to use when you’re looking for the right medical aesthetics doctor for you.)

What are the results?

You might see the effects of your treatment immediately but for most people, it takes up to two weeks to see the full results. You should notice a more pronounced contouring of your jawline and a more feminine look overall.

Because the effects of Botox injections are not permanent, most patients will need to return for maintenance treatments every four to six months. 

Could masseter injections be the answer to your desire for a sleeker jawline? Dr. Suess is open to all your questions. Reach out to her to set up a conversation. 

Feature image: © Can Stock Photo / fotoarts Inset image: © Can Stock Photo / OrlyDesign

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