Does Clenching Your Teeth/jaw Make Jaw Muscles (Masseter Muscles) Bigger and Bulge out?

Doctor Answers 8

Yes - Clenching of teeth does result in more prominent masseter muscles

Absolutely - If your muscle is constantly under tension, it will become more prominent.  Weakening the masseter muscle keeps you from clenching your teeth as tightly.  Weakening the muscle can 1) save your teeth, 2) reduce neck/headaches, 3) help you open your mouth better.

Houston Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Masseter Muscles

Just like any muscle on your body, if you frequently contract your muscles in the jaw then they will get stronger and thus more prominent.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Large cheeks may be related to big masseter muscles and Botox can help

many people who have large cheeks, especially the lower cheek, are affected by hypertrophic masseter muscles from clenching. This can sometimes cause a painful TMJ, or temporo-mandibular joint syndrome. Relaxation of these muscles are often curative and Botox can be used to relax these muscles. There can be risks of asymmetric treatment.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Clenching the teeth can cause a square face, larger masseter muscles

Yes, clenching your teeth regularly with make your masseter muscles more prominent and give you that 'square jaw' look and Botox is useful in reducing the size and function of the masseter muscle. Repeat treatments will be necessary to achieve this goal..

Hratch Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Buffalo Phlebologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Clenching jaw and grinding teeth at night may increase size and appearance of masseter muscles

Hi and thank you for your question. Ironically, we see a great number of patients who complain of the action itself (sore jaw from clenching at night, or grinding teeth) as well as the appearance or change in facial shape. Small doses of Botox is an excellent treatment option to soften, relax, and return facial shape, often providing relief in all areas of concern. If you have a Botox provider already, be sure to ask about this treatment and if you do not already have a provider, I suggest that you pursue a consultation and learn more about how it works, what to expect, results and longevity, and inquire about dosage and cost of treatment. In our experience, patients are very happy with this treatment option.

Gregory Mesna, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Jaw clenching and masseter muscles

Yes.  In fact this can really make the masseter muscles quite large completely changing facial appearance.  Patients have a thicker face.  Injection of Botox into the masseter muscles can greatly help and "thin" the face.  Enlarged parotid glands can also make the cheeks look thick.  Botox can also reduce the size of parotid glands.  I have posted a link below of a recent article on this topic.

Curt Samlaska, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Botox and jaw clenching

Yes, in a sense clenching your jaw and/or grinding your teeth will strengthen those muscles, thereby increasing the size causing potential bulging. Botox is commonly placed in the masseter muscles to lessen the strength and size, and results in a desirable facial contour.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Clenching teeth, or "grinding you teeth" can cause the masseter muscle to get bigger, or "hypertrophy"

Yes. Clenching teeth, or "grinding you teeth" can cause the masseter muscle to get bigger, or "hypertrophy". The masseter muscle is one of the muscles activated during chewing. It’s located at the “angle of the mandible”, or “angle of the jaw”. Masseter muscle hypertrophy is enlargement of the masseter muscle, and can contribute to a harsh, square look at the angle of the jaw. Botox can be used to relax this muscle, and to soften the look of the lower face. I usually start with 50 units of botox (25 units on each side). When Botox is used to relax the facial muscles that cause fine line, the maximum effect is seen in 7-10 days. When Botox is used to reduce masseter muscle hypertrophy, the maximum effect is not seen for 3 months. Results can last up to 9 months. I recommend repeat injection every 6 months if you would like to maintain your results. 

Dara Liotta, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 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.