Masseter injections

Masseter injections

treating the lower face & jaw

June 2nd, 2023

Whether you suffer from teeth grinding (bruxism) or want to achieve a slimmer-looking face here are the facts you must consider.

In today's fast-paced and stress-filled modern society, the occurrence of teeth grinding has become increasingly prevalent. It’s said that between 8-31% of adults suffer with a bruxism and it can happen while awake or during sleep, with many people doing it without even realising. The pandemic saw bruxism levels increase further, due to the stress that surrounded it.

This has led many turning to social media channels, such as Instagram, for information on treatments for bruxism using masseter botulinum toxin injections. However, people should be aware of misinformation. According to a study by Serbian Yildiz et al., which aimed to evaluate the quality and content of publicly shared Instagram posts related to this topic, the reliability scores of Instagram video posts about #masseterinjections were very low.

Why bruxism requires treatment

The exact causes of bruxism is still unclear, but factors such as stress and neurological issues often play a role. It causes problems such as tooth wear and tooth fractures leading to some people needing dental restoration. It can also cause issues with jaw mobility, jaw pain, hypertrophy of the masseter muscle (enlargement) myalgia (muscle ache/pain) or arthralgia (joint pain), which is characteristic of the temporomandibular disorders (TMD). TMDs are disorders of the jaw muscles, joints, and the nerves associated with chronic facial pain.

Various treatments have been tried over the years, including mouthguards, medications, and therapy, but other than managing the symptoms, they don't always solve the underlying cause.


Treatment with botulinum toxin

Botulinum toxin, commonly used for medical aesthetic purposes, has shown effectiveness in managing the symptoms of bruxism. It works by lessening the force applied when grinding or clenching the teeth, and decreasing pain levels associated with it. This improvement in symptoms leads to a better quality of sleep and life in general for patients. According to a study published in 2019 by Tania Fernandez-Nunez et al. treatment of the masseter with botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) provides better results than traditional methods like mouthguards, medications or therapy.

Treating the masseter with BTX-A also decreases the volume of the masseter muscle which can result in a slimming appearance of the lower face. This occurs because BTX-A temporarily weakens the masseter muscle, causing it to shrink in size. This is generally desired by those with a square lower face who want to achieve a more oval, softer appearance. The outcome is rather rewarding as the slimmer masseter gives a more youthful “V shape” to the patient’s face, who appears as if he/she has lost weight in a course of 2 weeks, the time it takes for the treatment to take full effect. It is also very popular among certain ethnic groups, where it has been commonly referred to as "Nefertiti Jaw Slimming," "Face Slimming," or simply "Jaw Slimming”.

As with every medical procedure BTX-A treatment for bruxism has temporary side effects such as sensitivity, haematoma, mild skin reactions, muscle weakness, headaches, and dry mouth. It’s important to always have a consultation with an experienced medical practitioner as certain medical conditions or incorrect high doses can increase the chance of mild pain, a temporary difficulty in swallowing or loss of muscle tone, which could result in jowl formation.

Consultation with a qualified dentist

Given the plethora of unreliable information, the complexity of the masticatory system (TMJ and muscles of mastication) and the aetiology and side effects of bruxism it is worth noting that treatment should be discussed with a qualified dentist or TMD specialist. This ensures that the medical and social history of the patient are taken into account, as well as individual goals and preferences, to ensure the desired functional and aesthetic results are achieved.

For those who don’t know, Dr Yiannis Valilas is a qualified general dentist registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) in the UK since 2005. With years of practice in the field, Dr Yiannis can assist by providing you with an accurate diagnosis, personalised lifestyle guidance and effective treatment tailored to your specific needs.

Don't let teeth grinding affect your oral health and overall wellbeing any longer – take the first step by scheduling a consultation with Dr Yiannis.

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