Some people eat when they’re stressed. Some shop. Some shop for food that they then eat. Me? I clench my jaw. Aside from my knotted up shoulders, my masseter muscles are the greatest bearer of my bodily stress. If you suffer from teeth grinding,TMJ or any similar jaw-related tension condition, I know you feel my pain and frustration. To make matters worse, most of the clenching was happening at night, so I couldn’t even catch myself in the act and modify the behavior. I would wake up every morning with tightness and soreness along the side of my face that I would try – fruitlessly – to massage away. Before you could say “night guard’, I had cracked the filling on a molar and wore down another molar to a rounded stump. I wanted to find a real preventative solution that would help me avoid extra trips to the dentist – twice a year for my cleaning is more than enough, thank you.
Grinding Your Teeth? Botox to the Rescue
Botox, which is fast becoming a panacea for all sorts of health and beauty issues, is a very useful tool for dealing with jaw tension. Makes sense – Botox paralyzes muscles, and teeth grinding is caused by the masseter muscle going into nocturnal overdrive. Weaken the masseter muscle and you alleviate most, if not all, of this tension.
It’s Quick & Painless
I visited Dr. Dara Liotta for this unbelievably quick and painless procedure. We’re talking ten minutes and two tiny pinches. The first time she did the procedure she used 20 units of Botox on each side. When Botox is used to relax the facial muscles that cause fine lines, the maximum effect is seen in 7-10 days. When Botox is used on the masseter muscle, the maximum effect is not seen for 3 months…and results can last up to 9 months. Dr. Liotta recommended I get repeat injections every 6 months to maintain results. She also said that many people enjoy very long term results after three treatments. Within a month, I noticed a huge difference in the pain and tightness around my jaw. I no longer woke up every morning feeling like I’d been gnawing on a wad of Hubba Bubba all night. Now, nine months since my first injection, I’m happy to say I’ve not had to make a single extra dental visit!
Happy Side Effects
As if the reduction in pain and dental visits was not enough, the procedure has cosmetic benefits as well. I have always thanked my Russian ancestors for my chiseled cheekbones. Since the Botox reduced the size of my Masseter muscle, it also reduced and softened my jawline, creating a more dramatic angle from my cheek to my jaw.This allowed my cheekbones to “pop” even more than before. When Dr. Liotta showed me pictures taken before and then 2 months post-procedure, I was floored.
Using Botox to reduce the jawline is fast becoming a popular procedure as it is minimally invasive – traditional jaw reduction surgery involves breaking and removing part of the jaw bone. Ouch! Oh, Botox, what will you think of next?!
Dr. Liotta is fantastic. She is not only a Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon, but also a Board Certified ENT surgeon, so she has an expert understanding of the face and neck. Want to talk to her about Botox, fillers or another cosmetic procedure? Visit her website for more information and to schedule a consultation.
By: Claire McCormack @clairemcmack