Can Botox Prevent Cheek Movement when Smiling? (photo)

Whenever my face is at rest I appear to have very well defined cheeks that aren't large. Whenever I smile though my cheeks contract and look much larger and makes my face appear rounder. Can botox help prevent my cheeks from becoming bigger like in the picture I submitted? Also can this be done with other types of fillers than just Botox?

Doctor Answers 8

Botox and cheek movement

Thank you for submitting your photos.  Your smile actually appears very normal and natural.   Botox is a paralytic agent rather than a filler such as Juvederm or Restylane.  The addition of a filler to your nasolabial folds would lessen the depth of their creases but doing so would increase the appearance of fullness to your cheeks. One must be careful injecting Botox below the cheek area as it could cause unwanted side effects.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Botox can effect smiling

Botox can prevent you from smiling but it can also make your smile crooked. It is best not to use Botox near the muscles that elevate the lip or the corners of the mouth. 

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Botox and cheeks

Botox if used on the cheeks will prevent a smile. It is a neurotoxin it is not a filler material which will not do that.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Gummy smile

I'm not sure if it is your cheeks that are the problem, but you do have something called a gummy smile. I use Botox to drop the upper lip so that the gums are not evident when you smile. Weakening these may cause you to have less of a cheek mound when you smils, so it may be worth your while to try it. Only a very small dose is needed on either side of the nose--just a few units. Find a doctor who has experience with this technique and who will let you pay by the unit.

Theda C. Kontis, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Botox and cheeks

Unfortunately, weakening cheek muscles with botulinum toxin will look very unnatural. Besides the unwanted aesthetic results, it also may impact your ability to speak normally, make normal facial expressions, smile, and eat.  Fillers will not help your situation either; in fact, they may make it worse by adding more volume to your cheeks.

Ramona Behshad, MD
Saint Louis Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Treatment of cheeks with Botox

Based on your photos I would not recommend treatment for your cheeks.  Although cameras can sometimes catch us in an awkward moment, our cheeks are supposed to move up and get fuller when we smile.  That's natural.  Treatment with Botox would risk an abnormal appearing smile, or worse, a face which can't smile and may lack other expressions as well.   On a side note, your concerns are the reasons why you never see celebrities on the red carpet with big wide and full smiles.  They give small smiles, and don't really smile with their eyes, so the camera can't catch any wrinkles. 

In response to your last question, we need to clarify your terminology as well, Botox is a neuromodulator.  The medicine cause muscles to relax by preventing the nerve signal which usually normally cause the muscle to contract.  We treat the muscles in the face which create certain wrinkles.  Since the muscle can't contract, you don't get the wrinkle.  This is how neuromodulators work.  Xeomin and Dysport are two other brand names of neuromodulators.  Neuromodulators should be distinguished from fillers.  Fillers are used to plump up wrinkles or areas of the face which need volume.  Common fillers include Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse, as well as some others.  

A consultation with a local face expert is a good idea to make sure you get the best customized recommendations.


Michael Bowman, MD
Roanoke Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Botox to the cheeks

Your photos appear totally normal. I wouldn't suggest you do anything to adjust your cheeks. Putting Botox into the cheeks can yes, make them not move. It can also make it so you cannot smile, talk, eat, drink, etc. and in extreme cases, make it appear that you've had a stroke or Bell's Palsy. That's why we don't recommend it. In your case, I would absolutely not recommend it because what you have occurring with your cheeks is totally normal.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Cheeks rounder with smiling

When most people smile, it does raise the cheeks and make them appear rounder.  This is a fairly normal result of the smile.  I wouldn't recommend any treatment for this particular issue, as it is normal.  

Michael I. Echavez, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.