Masseter botox is the injection of botulinum toxin into the masseter muscle – one of the four muscles used for chewing – to temporarily relax.
Now, the injection in this area alone has both medical and cosmetic uses, which is why it’s very popular – it’s got almost 150 million views on TikTok alone.
But while you’ll hear many people endorsing this non-surgical treatment, there are others who also warn about its unwanted and rather serious side effects.
In this guide, you’ll learn more about the various uses, benefits, side effects, results, and effectiveness of masseter Botox. It may help you determine if this injection is really worth it.
What Is Masseter Botox?
In masseter Botox, certain chemicals signalling the contraction of the masseter muscle are blocked. However, your practitioner may also inject Botox into another one of the chewing muscles known as the temporalis.
One study published in the peer-reviewed journal Life found that by only injecting Botox into the masseter, the temporalis muscle can into an overdrive.
So, if someone’s gotten their masseter injected for hypertrophy, it’s possible that the temporalis ends up being enlarged to make up for the work for the masseter. That can also make that muscle stiffer.
So, to avoid this from happening, the researchers suggested that practitioners should consider injecting Botox into the temporalis along with the masseter. Otherwise, if you’re getting this injection for cosmetic purposes, you might not get satisfactory results.
As Botox will prevent these muscles from moving, it raises concerns about whether the patient will be able to chew after treatment.
Here, keep in mind that, primarily, there are medial pterygoid and lateral pterygoid muscles as well involved in mastication or chewing.
Also, considering the size of the muscles into which the Botox is injected and the small dose, you don’t have to worry about your muscles being “paralysed.”
What Does Masseter Botox Do?
Masseter Botox can be used to do the following:
- Treat bruxism (teeth grinding/clenching and associated headaches)
- Reduce the size of enlarged masseter muscles
- Make the lower half of the face slimmer
- Treat pain due to temporomandibular disorders (TMD)
Here, the distinction between TMD and TMJ must be noted. TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, and TMD is the disorder of the TMJ.
Moreover, it’s very important to keep in mind that the masseter Botox only targets specific muscles. So, it will only address problems caused by those muscles.
If, for instance, you have a wider face because of the underlying shape of your jawbone, fat deposits, or even hanging skin, there’s nothing that this jaw reduction Botox will do for you.
Some people also wonder if masseter Botox can help with a double chin. Again, you must remember that Botox will not get rid of fat or excess skin.
In fact, a muscle-relaxing Botox injection in the chin area might only end up worsening the double chin.
Some also ask if this type of Botox can help with jowls, and the answer to this is also no because it’s not related to your masseters. As a matter of fact, masseter Botox may worsen jowls as well.
Where Is Masseter Botox Injected?
As the name suggests, masseter Botox is injected into the masseter muscles. But it can also be injected into the temporalis.
Once you arrive at the clinic, your practitioner may begin by asking you to clench your jaw. This will allow them to mark the target areas on your face.
And once that’s done, they will clean your face and may apply a numbing cream as well so you don’t feel any pain.
Following that, your muscles will be injected. Usually, somewhere between 15-50 units are used on each side of the face for masseter Botox (30-100 total). It depends on how thick the muscle is.
Unlike fillers, you won’t see the results of this treatment immediately. Only the early effects of Botox are usually seen after 3-4 days. But the final results can take months even.
In the meantime, for your aftercare, your practitioner might advise you to not rub or massage the injection areas to avoid spreading the Botox.
They might also ask you to avoid exercise, heavy drinking, taking blood thinners, or direct sun exposure for a short while (maybe a day or even less).
You can also experience some side effects like pain, bruising, nausea, or discomfort, so make sure to ask your doctor about it.
How Long Does Masseter Botox Take To Work?
According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, the maximum effects of Botox for the masseter can be seen in around 3 months. Its effects will start after a few days, but it will take some time for you to see it.
And since it can be a slow process, it’d be better if you take “before” pictures of yourself so you can see if there’s any difference after 3 months.
How Long Does Masseter Botox Last?
In general, you can expect masseter Botox to last for 3-4 months.
This treatment is temporary, and you’ll need to get multiple sessions to maintain the results.
In this case, however, you should make sure to ask your practitioner about the long-term effects of masseter Botox.
How Much Is Masseter Botox In The UK?
In the UK, on average, masseter Botox can cost you anywhere from £300 to £450 per treatment session.
It mainly depends on the units of Botox being used (men might be charged more for having bigger muscles), the experience of the practitioner and the location of the clinic.
You should also know that masseter Botox may not be available on the NHS, especially for cosmetic reasons (you should still consult your GP about this).
When calculating the total cost, keep in mind that it’s a temporary treatment. You’ll need to get these injections multiple times to continue seeing the results.
Can Masseter Botox Go Wrong?
While generally considered safe, masseter Botox can go wrong in the following ways:
- Bulging of masseter muscles
- Droopy, crooked smile
- Worsened appearance of jowls
- Problems in chewing
- Dry mouth
According to a study published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, around 05-18.8% of people experience what’s known as “paradoxical muscle bulging” after getting masseter Botox. But it may be fixed with additional injections.
The other problem is that if the practitioner isn’t experienced, they might also end up injecting Botox into the wrong muscle. So, for instance, the corners of your mouth are pulled up into a smile by “risorius muscles.”
If Botox is injected into this instead (which happens), it can leave you with an asymmetrical, droopy or crooked smile. And the only thing you can do here is to wait it out.
Similarly, if Botox is injected into the salivary glands in your mouth, that will affect the production of saliva, giving you a dry mouth.
Also, as mentioned above, another way in which masseter Botox can go wrong is that your jowls become too prominent.
Therefore, it’s very important that you find a practitioner who has the required qualifications and experience to perform this treatment effectively and successfully.
Is Masseter Botox Safe?
Masseter Botox is considered safe and is used for the treatment of different medical and cosmetic issues. But in the US, it’s done “off-label,” meaning that particular usage is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Still, keep in mind that it can have side effects, and its long-term effects also need to be researched more.
In one of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, it was found that there’s a lack of well-designed studies to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of masseter Botox.
In any case, though, if you’re getting this treatment, make sure to choose an experienced practitioner who will inform you of its potential side effects.
Is Masseter Botox Worth It?
Many people consider masseter Botox to be worth it, especially since it helps with teeth grinding, TMD pain, masseter hypertrophy, headaches and such.
Keep in mind that masseter Botox may save you a lot on expensive dental work. Those who experience bruxism can end up damaging their teeth quite extensively.
It can even lead to tooth loss, gum recession, and bone loss, not to mention other problems it causes, like pain, soreness, and sensitivity. Therefore, if it works for you, masseter Botox can very well be worth it.
Masseter Botox isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s been around since the 90s. Only because of social media, you might be seeing much more of it (and it might also be contributing to its popularity).
There’s quite promising research on it to show that it works for different functional and cosmetic issues. Therefore, you may consider it as well. But it’s extremely important that you find a practitioner who knows what they’re doing.
While it may not still be completely risk-free, a trained practitioner will know where to inject and how much. And they’ll also provide you with an accurate assessment to make sure that masseter Botox will actually help you or not.
Reviewed and approved by Prof Dr Fuat Yuksel
Can masseter Botox be permanent?
Masseter Botox cannot be permanent because the effect will eventually wear off after 3-4 months. To maintain the results, you might have to get it again and again.
Can you eat after masseter Botox?
It’s considered okay to eat after masseter Botox. Other than that masseter, there are other muscles that are used in chewing, so you should be able to eat. However, you should further consult your doctor about it.
Does the masseter Botox hurt?
During the masseter Botox treatment, your practitioner might use a numbing cream so you don’t feel pain. However, afterwards, pain can be experienced (it’s rare).
How to relax masseter muscle without Botox?
For teeth grinding and clenching, you may consider addressing the underlying cause of the problem instead. Bruxism is usually associated with stress, so therapy, night guards or even lifestyle changes might be able to help you.
Can masseter Botox age you?
Masseter Botox may give you an aged look if it ends up worsening your jowls. The results can also be unsatisfactory if there are other issues like bulging or drooling. Make sure to find a qualified, experienced and trained practitioner.