Stress rears her ugly head in so many ways it’s hard to keep track. Wrinkles, acne, dull hair and skin, headaches, infections—the list goes on and on. Everyone’s body channels and releases stress in different ways, but me? Teeth grinding is my stress thing. My masseter muscles (the ones responsible for chewing) are the greatest bearer of my bodily stress, and 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. This 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 and greatly minimize cracking and dulling yours molars. Essentially, it’s Botox for your teeth.
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It’s Quick & Painless
I visited Dr. Dara Liotta, Chief Medical Director at City Aesthetics at Totum Health, for this unbelievably quick and painless procedure. It took 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 three months, and results can last up to nine months. Dr. Liotta recommended I get repeat injections every six 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 haven’t had to make a single extra dental visit!
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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, but 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 two months post-procedure, I was floored.
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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?!
WORDS: Claire McCormack for Travel Beauty