As with any other aesthetic procedure, it is important that you understand the key points of jaw Botox before embarking on it. Knowledge is key to decide if jaw Botox is suitable for you and if so, the right doctor to perform it for you.
Botox for masseter muscle reduction or the “V line” procedure is a commonly performed procedure for jaw slimming. It is called the “V line” procedure because the goal is to create a more tapered and slim appearance of the jawline akin to a “V”.
Botox is a neuromodulator that causes relaxation of the target muscle: masseter, in the case of jaw slimming. The masseter is a rectangular shaped muscle that is located on both sides of the jaw and is one of the four muscles involved in chewing. The masseter gives volume and fullness to the sides of the jaw, giving an appearance of a wide lower third of the face or angle of the jaw. By relaxing the masseter with Botox, the muscle is unable to work out and therefore its volume decreases.
The slimming effect usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to be apparent and can last between 4 to 6 months. The aesthetic goal is for a natural jawline tapering result that people may wonder if it is because you have slimmed down gradually over time.
Jaw Botox is also widely used to treat bruxism or grinding of the teeth.1 Botox reduces the tightness and strain in the jaw therefore reducing pain and teeth clenching. Because the masseter muscle is one of the 4 muscles involved in chewing, the overall strength of mastication or the bite will be reduced.
Jaw Botox is a quick 5 to 10 minute office procedure. After an initial consult and physical examination of the jawline, your doctor will make a few injection points to target the masseter muscles. In experienced hands, it is a safe, effective and low risk procedure.
Physical examination and dose customisation matters. It is important that a proper physical examination is performed to assess masseter muscle strength, size, symmetry to determine the correct dose of Botox needed for adequate effectiveness and duration of muscle reduction. In addition, any asymmetry in muscle strength and volume should be addressed too.
Jaw Botox is typically very tolerable. Your doctor should use various techniques such as cold compress, local anesthesia and the popularised Helfer’s skin tap technique2 to reduce discomfort. A small needle and quick injections over a few targeted points are typically performed.
Immediately after the procedure you might feel temporarily soreness over the sites of injection for a couple hours to a few days because the needle passes through the body of the fairly thick masseter.
Other side effects may include mild swelling or bruising with an incidence of approximately 2.5%.3 Even though a tiny needle is used, it may still leave a pin point bruise at the site of injection.
You will not experience any difference in day to day eating or chewing. However, if you eat a chewing intensive meal then towards the end of the meal you may feel slight muscle fatigue. This is temporary and typically occurs in about 30% of individuals after jaw Botox.3 Muscle fatigue is a normal sensation even without any treatment of your muscles when you chew excessively. With Botox for masseter reduction you will feel that fatigue a bit sooner.
It is important to seek out an experienced doctor to perform jaw Botox because in someone who lacks the required expertise, it can cause preventable risks such as changes to your speech, smile and asymmetry of your face.
Jaw Botox will not cause sagging of the skin. Botox only works on the muscle to reduce its volume and not on the skin. Sometimes this can accentuate the junction between the cheekbone and the cheek creating more definition of the cheekbone, but it will not cause decrease in skin elasticity or drooping.
No, it is a temporary treatment that can last on average 4 to 6 months. If you do not repeat the procedure, the appearance and function of the muscle will return to its original state in 4 to 6 months’ time. With repeat treatments initially every 4 months, it is possible to shrink the muscle to the point where the duration of the Botox effect is longer and/ or dose required is lesser subsequently. However, Botox dose and intended duration of result is best left to your doctor to decide and customise for you, based on his assessment.
In summary, Botox is generally safe and effective for jaw slimming and to reduce grinding of the teeth. It is important that you understand the key information with regards to jaw Botox and consult a doctor you are comfortable with before embarking on this procedure.
Written by Dr. David Deng
Disclaimer: The material contained in this is for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for doctor's advice, diagnosis, or treatment.