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Botox is an injectable muscle relaxer. It uses onabotulinumtoxinA, a neurotoxin that temporarily paralyzes the muscle.

The injection is often used to make forehead wrinkles less noticeable. However, if it’s used in your masseter muscles (near your cheekbones) it can also change your face shape and manage facial pain.

This use is known as masseter Botox. Read on to learn about the treatment, along with its benefits and side effects.

The masseter is one of the muscles that helps you chew. It’s located on the side of your face and connects your cheekbone to your lower jawbone.

When Botox is injected into the masseter, it’s called a masseter Botox. It’s sometimes called jaw Botox.

The treatment uses botulinum toxin to temporarily block nerve signals in the masseter. As a result, the muscle is unable to move.

Botox in the masseter is typically used for:

  • managing teeth grinding
  • reducing jaw tension, pain, and clenching
  • relieving headaches
  • contouring a square jaw
  • creating a balanced face shape

Here’s what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

Before the procedure

Before getting masseter Botox, you’ll have a consultation with a medical professional. They’ll ask questions about your goals and concerns.

They’ll also examine your jaw and face. This allows them to determine the injection site and how many syringes you need.

The actual procedure will take place in a doctor’s office. You won’t need to go to the hospital.

During the procedure

Here’s what you can expect during the procedure:

  1. A medical professional will clean your skin to reduce the risk of infection. They may use a topical anesthesia to numb the area.
  2. They prepare a syringe with the botulinum toxin. The syringe will have a very thin needle.
  3. Next, they insert the needle into your masseter muscle. They slowly withdraw the needle as they inject the toxin.
  4. They may repeat the procedure on the other side. The number of syringes necessary depend on what you’re treating.

The procedure typically lasts 15 minutes.

After the treatment

After the treatment, you can go back to your usual activities. It doesn’t require any recovery time.

However, you’ll need to avoid the following for the 24 hours:

  • rubbing the treated area
  • placing pressure on the treated area
  • exercise

These actions might spread the toxin to other parts of your face.

You can expect to see full results in about 1 week. Some people start seeing results within 1 to 3 days.

It’s worth noting that the effects of Botox are temporary. They usually last 3 to 4 months. If you’d like to maintain the results, you’ll have to repeat the procedure.

Masseter Botox offers the following benefits:

Reduces teeth grinding

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is typically treated with mouthguards and lifestyle changes. If you have severe bruxism, Botox injections may be more effective.

As the botulinum toxin weakens the masseter, it relaxes the jaw. This stops the jaw and teeth from involuntarily clenching, reducing symptoms like:

  • tight jaw
  • pain in the jaw, neck, or face
  • tooth sensitivity or pain
  • dull headache
  • tooth damage
  • ear pain

Reduces symptoms of TMD

Like the masseter muscle, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) helps you chew. It’s a hinge that connects your lower jawbone to your skull.

If there’s a problem with your TMJ, it’s called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). It often coexists with bruxism and masseter pain.

When Botox is injected into the masseter, it can relax the muscle and help relieve TMJ symptoms. This includes:

  • jaw pain
  • headaches
  • TMJ damage
  • poor range of motion in the jaw
  • jaw, face, and ear pain
  • jaw locking

Slims your face shape

The masseter muscles can give the face a square shape. If you want your face to look slimmer, masseter Botox may be an option.

The weakening effect of Botox reduces the size of your masseters. This creates a slimmer V-shaped jawline.

When used for this purpose, masseter Botox is also called jaw reduction or masseter reduction.

Masseter Botox is generally considered safe. However, it’s possible for the procedure to cause side effects such as:

  • pain or swelling at the site of injection
  • bruising
  • headache
  • flu-like symptoms
  • crooked smile
  • drooling

As with any procedure, it’s important to work with a qualified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon. This will reduce the risk of complications and achieve the results you want.

To find a surgeon, ask your dermatologist or primary care doctor for a recommendation. You can also use the Find a Surgeon tool created by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

At your initial consultation, you can learn about the procedure and ask the surgeon questions.

Sample questions to ask include:

  • Will masseter Botox help me achieve the results I want?
  • Am I an ideal candidate for masseter Botox?
  • How do I prepare for the procedure?
  • Where will the procedure take place? What happens during each step?
  • Is there anything I should avoid after getting Botox?
  • What will I look like over time?
  • Are there risks associated with masseter Botox?
  • How long you have been practicing?
  • Are you trained in masseter Botox?
  • Do you have before or after photos?
  • How much will it cost?

The masseter muscle is located in the jaw and cheek area. If you have severe bruxism or TMD, getting Botox in this muscle may relieve your symptoms. It can also contour your jawline and balance your overall facial shape.

For best results, work with a qualified cosmetic surgeon who is trained in masseter Botox. An experienced surgeon can perform the procedure safely and properly.