Masseter Botox: Cost, When to Get It, Side Effects

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Botox injections, under the hands of a seasoned professional, can be a gift that keeps on giving. Since ophthalmologist Jean Carruthers first discovered the neurotoxin’s wrinkle-reducing effects in the 1980s, the injection has become the most popular cosmetic treatment in the United States. Common FDA-approved areas to get Botox typically include the forehead and crow’s feet, but there are also off-label portions of the face like the masseter that are becoming more popular.

You’ve probably heard of people having jaw pain or TMJ and getting Botox to help relieve the tension; it’s thanks to this practice. “Masseter Botox is the injection of the neurotoxin into the muscle to paralyze or weaken it,” Jaimie DeRosa, MD, founder of DeRosa Center Plastic Surgery & Med Spa, tells POPSUGAR. The masseter is a muscle of mastication, or chewing, and it’s located in the jaw area, where people can hold a lot of stress and tension.

There are a host of reasons people may opt to get the injection at the site. To help us understand a bit more, Dr. DeRosa breaks down everything you should know about masseter Botox, from how much it costs to whether the treatment is for you.

How Does Masseter Botox Work?

The process of getting masseter Botox looks similar to getting the injection anywhere else, with one exception. “The toxin is injected right into the muscle,” Dr. DeRosa says. “I have the patient bite down hard and clench their jaw so that the masseter contracts so that I can feel, and often see, the outline of the muscle.”

Since the masseter is reasonably large, Dr. DeRosa typically injects at several points depending on the amount of Botox she has to use (usually there are about three to four injections total). “Additionally, I tell my patients that it can take up to two weeks to see the full results and that the effects of masseter Botox typically wear off in three to four months,” she says.

Benefits of Masseter Botox

There are a few reasons people get this treatment, and they’re equally for aesthetic and health purposes. “When you chew, the masseter contracts, so you may feel a hard muscle along the back part of the face,” Dr. DeRosa says. “While we need the muscle to masticate, sometimes it works too well and as a result becomes too large.” This enlargement of the area can be caused by genetics or by working it too much by chewing a lot of gum, grinding your teeth, or doing any other activity that causes a lot of movement in the area.

When the masseter muscle is enlarged, also known as “masseter hypertrophy,” it can result in the bottom of the face along the back of the jawline looking wide and big. “This can also trigger medical conditions including migraine headaches and TMJ,” Dr. DeRosa says. “Moreover, sometimes people can clench their jaws so hard due to strong masseter muscles that they break teeth.”

How to Determine If Masseter Botox Is Right For You

As with all your aesthetic and health decisions, the decision to move forward with a procedure is entirely your own. Still, if you’ve been on the fence about whether or not you should get masseter Botox, Dr. DeRosa has a few recommendations to keep in mind. “Some people know that they are ready when they’ve exhausted other treatments for their particular issue,” she says. “If you’ve sought help for breaking your teeth from clenching, migraines, or TMJ to no avail, you may want to consider this as the next step.”

Others will know they’re ready for masseter Botox when they feel like their lower face is too wide or square due to large masseter muscles. One perk of masseter Botox is that since it paralyzes the muscle, once it is fully working, the muscle will start to get smaller over time from lack of use, therefore changing the shape of the area. Every result will be personal to you, so if you’re wondering if you would benefit from masseter Botox, Dr. DeRosa highly recommends talking with a certified doctor, dentist, or professional who can answer all your questions about the treatment before you take the plunge.

Cons of Masseter Botox

Of course, masseter Botox isn’t for everyone. If you get injections for TMJ or any kind of jaw pain, over time, you may realize that the treatment is having an unwanted consequence: changing the shape of your face. This is due to the fact that when paralyzed by the neurotoxin, the muscle is not being utilized and therefore gets smaller. Some people forgo the treatment all together for this reason, and in that case you can speak to your provider about mouth guards, massages, or other alternatives to help with pain management.

How Much Does Masseter Botox Cost?

As with most treatments, the cost of Botox can vary depending on the amount used, where you live, your injector, and so on. However, unlike many primarily aesthetic treatments, masseter Botox can sometimes be covered by insurance. “Since some of the reasons for the procedures can sometimes be medical/dental, there are instances when masseter Botox is covered,” Dr. DeRosa says. “My recommendation is to discuss payment with your doctor prior to treatment, as typically it needs to be ‘preapproved’ by your insurer, and not every injector accepts insurance.”

Masseter Botox Before and After

Now that you know everything you need to about masseter Botox, you have yet another tool in your arsenal to meet your health and aesthetic goals. As with any injectable, surgery, or procedure, be sure to work with certified providers who can answer any questions you have prior to committing, and don’t be afraid to ask for references or search around to make sure you have a top-notch experience from start to finish.

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