The muscles that we use to chew our food are among the strongest muscles in the human body. For teeth grinders, those muscles tend to get a nightly workout that can cause the lower face to look fuller or square like shape. Thankfully, a few injections can reduce their activity and give the face a new, improved contour.
“For my younger patients, we are performing more contouring treatments to the jawline either to narrow or widen the jawline or to add length to the jawline,” explains New York facial plastic surgeon Edward S. Kwak, MD. “To narrow the width of the jawline, we treat a large muscle responsible for chewing, called the masseter muscle, with a neurotoxin, like Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, Xeomin or Jeuveau.”
Arcadia, CA, plastic surgeon Art Yu, MD says he too uses botulinum toxin to slim the masseteric muscles, but takes care not to inject into the buccinator muscles to avoid side cheek hollowness: “It’s important you have a qualified injector do this procedure as you don’t want to slim the masseteric muscle tissue along the jawlines down too thin to avoid total loss of jawline definition.”
What It Is
“Neurotoxin injections can make the face appear slimmer, narrower and less angular,” explains New York facial plastic surgeon Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD. “Unlike liposuction, neurotoxin injections work even in people with thin faces.”
“In general, you treat the masseter muscle a few times before you see the ultimate effect,” says Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon David Lieberman, MD. “The result can be maintained with more infrequent visits after you achieve the initial injections. A lot of people will get this treatment if they have TMJ and headaches due to the grinding which can be a game-changer for people who suffer from it.”
What It Does
“The idea is that because of overuse or because of natural anatomy, some of the bulk of the mandible can be muscle size,” says Dr. Lieberman.
“Neuromodulators work by causing a temporary muscular blockade to the muscle, preventing contraction,” explains Vero Beach, FL plastic surgeon Alan Durkin, MD. “Over time, muscles that do not contract will shrink and atrophy, leading to facial slimming.”
Who Is a Good Candidate?
People who grind their teeth can end up with over-developed and excessively prominent masseters,” says Dr. Vasyukevich. “When increased in size these muscles will make the face look wider with very prominent-appearing angles of the mandible. This problem can be easily solved with neurotoxin injections. However, these injections would be hardly effective for anyone whose masseter muscles do not appear prominent. In that case, liposuction or mini facelift would be a far better option.”