Masseter Botox is trending on TikTok, but is it for everyone?

BEAUTYcrew asks the experts

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / December 19 2023

The hashtag #masseterbotox has over 174.2 million views on TikTok alone. In fact, the app is brimming with videos explaining the procedure, as well as before and after photos demonstrating its facial slimming benefits.

But, as with any cosmetic treatment, masseter Botox isn’t for everyone. 

We’ve all heard stories and seen first hand cases of migrated lip filler and frozen, shiny Botoxed foreheads, and the same goes for masseter Botox. Amidst an onslaught of happy patients, there’s also a company of less than satisfied customers.

Masseter Botox has traditionally been used as a preventative medical treatment for issues such as TMJ, teeth grinding, headaches and jaw pain. It also has to be administered in very specific areas of the face in order to minimise the risk of a lopsided smile or the accentuation of the nasolabial folds. It’s for that very reason that doing your research and understanding the ins and outs of the procedure prior to your appointment is really important. 

Thankfully, Ageless Clinics Owner & Cosmetic Doctor, Dr. Maryam Ronagh, and Paddington Dentistry’s Principal Dentist, Dr. Nick Nabavi gave BEAUTYcrew their expert advice on masseter Botox. 

Ahead, Dr. Ronagh and Dr. Nabavi break down everything you need to know about masseter Botox….

What is the purpose of masseter Botox?

“The intended purpose of injecting Botulinum toxin into the masseter muscles is that it can help to treat bruxism or teeth grinding”, explains Dr. Ronagh. It helps significantly with jaw clenching, tension headaches and pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It can also  reduce the size of the masseter muscles, which in turn can slim the lower half of the face and reduce the width of the jawline, she says.  

However, according to Dr. Nabavi, the treatment is requested more for its aesthetic benefits than for relief from jaw tension and its side effects. 

“The most common reason for masseter Botox injections is for cosmetic purposes, specifically to achieve facial slimming,” he says. 

“By injecting Botox into the masseter muscles, the muscles weaken, leading to a reduction in their [activity and] size,” Dr. Nabavi explains. “The lower face may appear less square or prominent, leading to a more aesthetically pleasing and balanced facial appearance [and] a more oval or V-shaped appearance of the face.”

However, when it comes to treating TMJ disorders, which can cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, masseter Botox injections should be used as part of a broader, comprehensive treatment plan to help alleviate symptoms and improve jaw function in individuals with TMJ disorders, he explains.

“It's important to note that while masseter Botox can offer benefits for certain individuals, it should be administered by a qualified and experienced healthcare professional,” he advises. “Before seeking this treatment, individuals should consult with a healthcare provider to determine if they are suitable candidates and to discuss potential risks and side effects.”

What are the risks and side effects of masseter Botox?

Knowing the anatomy of the face and injecting in the designated ‘safe’ areas of the masseter is incredibly important, says Dr. Ronagh. It can help to prevent the spread of the Botox into a small muscle known as the rigorous, which can result in an asymmetric smile. 

Failure to inject into both the superficial and deep layers of the masseter muscle can cause paradoxical bulging of the masseters, as deep layers of muscle continue to function as normal. “Again, an experienced injector will be able to prevent this complication by using the right technique,” says Dr. Ronagh. 

According to Dr. Nabavi, a small percentage of patients will experience adverse reactions due to allergies, which is why it’s so important to have a thorough consultation prior to treatment. 

“In some cases, Botox injections near the jaw may lead to temporary difficulty in swallowing,” he says. However, this [dysphagia] is usually mild and resolves on its own.”

“After receiving masseter Botox injections, it's advisable to follow certain guidelines to maximise the effectiveness of the treatment and minimise potential side effects,” advises Dr. Nabavi. 

After the first few hours after treatment, he recommends patients avoid lying down, rubbing or massaging the treated area to help prevent the spread of Botox to unintended muscles. Avoiding strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours after the treatment also helps to reduce the risk of Botox migration. 

Patients should avoid alcohol and blood-thinning medications such as aspirin for at least 24 hours after treatment to reduce the risk of bruising, and in the days following masseter Botox injections, patients should also be mindful of their facial expressions (read: clenching or grinding the jaw) and avoid excessive heat such as saunas, hot tubs and prolonged sun exposure.

How long does masseter Botox last?

Although results of anti-wrinkle injections in the upper face are evident after approximately 10 to 14 days and last about three to four months, it will take about four to six weeks before you notice a difference with masseter muscle injections and they typically last around six months.

Treatment of the masseter muscle requires higher dosage than typical anti-wrinkle treatments, says Dr. Ronagh. “Depending on the size of the muscles, we can use 25 to 50 units of Botox in each masseter muscle.” 

“The duration of Botox effects can vary from person to person and depends on various factors, including individual metabolism, the area treated, and the dosage administered,” explains Dr. Nabavi. “After receiving a Botox injection, it takes some time for the botulinum toxin to block nerve signals to the muscles, leading to a temporary relaxation of the treated muscles. As the effects gradually wear off, muscle activity returns, and the treated area resumes its normal function,” he went on to say. 

It’s also important to note, some patients who have developed immunity to older anti-wrinkle formulations such as Botox might also benefit from considering modern alternatives such as Xeomin, which doesn’t contain the complex proteins found in anti-wrinkle injection brands such as Botox and Dysport. With continued use of these older formulations, these complex proteins can be mistaken as antigens by the body, which then forms antibodies to it. As a result patients with ‘immunity’ may find that their anti-wrinkle injections are not as effective and they don’t last as long. In some cases, patients can also experience allergic reactions. 

How much does masseter Botox cost?

The cost of masseter Botox is dependent on the number of units used to treat the area, which can be anywhere between 20 to 50 units of Botox on each side of the face. 

“I normally assess the size, strength and level of a patient's discomfort to choose the right  dose,” explains Dr. Ronagh. “The starting  dose is around 20 to 25 units per side and we  can go up to 50 units in bulky, strong masseters.”

Dr. Nabavi says it’s also important to remember that costs vary based on the clinic and the expertise of the healthcare professional administering the treatment. Additionally, prices may change over time. 

“The cost of masseter Botox injections in Australia typically ranges from $400 to $1,200 per treatment session,” he explains. “In general, the effects of masseter Botox injections typically last for about three to six months. After this period, muscle activity gradually returns, and repeat treatments may be necessary to maintain the desired results.”

To get accurate and up-to-date information on the cost of masseter Botox in your area, he recommends contacting reputable medical professionals or clinics offering the treatment, for intel on any additional fees that may be associated with the procedure, such as consultation fees or follow-up appointments. “They can provide detailed pricing information, discuss your specific needs, and address any concerns you may have,” he says.

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Image credit: Getty

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).

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