At Westside Aesthetics, we often have patients who come in complaining about heaviness to their lower face as they get older. Part of what they are seeing is skin laxity and descent of facial fat causing a “jowly” appearance. Another part of this heaviness effect, however, is an enlargement and squaring of the angle of the jaw. With time, many people develop an enlargement of their masseter muscle.
This is the main muscle responsible for chewing. Either through genetic predisposition to enlargement or through continuous exercise via teeth grinding and clenching, or both, the muscle gets bigger. Frequently, patients are grinding and clenching only at night, so they are not even aware that they are doing it. The signs can be subtle. Enlargement of the master muscle is one indication.
Dentists will note wearing of the teeth that is typical of grinding or clenching. Some patients note morning tenderness and fatigue around their jaw area. Unfortunately, with time things get worse–as you grind more, the muscles get stronger, as they get stronger, the grinding causes more damage to the teeth and temporo-mandibular joint.
It becomes a terrible habit as the brain becomes used to reacting to stressful thoughts or situations by grinding and clenching. As the masseter muscle enlarges and the jawline becomes more square and pronounced, a woman’s face becomes more masculine in appearance. Both men and women appear tense and stressed because they look like they are constantly clenching their teeth.
Some of our female Asian patients are genetically predisposed to having a strong jaw. Softening the angular appearance of that strong jaw gives them a more oval and gentle shape to their face. Traditionally, surgical jaw reduction was the only way to change the contour of the lower face. In this procedure, part of the mandible is removed to narrow the jaw. The procedure is painful and requires serious downtime.
At Westside Aesthetics, Dr. Rivkin offers a non-surgical option for patients seeking to diminish the robust or asymmetrical appearance of their jawline with the innovative use of Botox. Botox treatment of teeth grinding will also provide relief from the pain and discomfort of habitual grinding and clenching.