It is not uncommon for some people to develop a wider lower face than they desire. This is particularly common in people of Asian heritage but can also be seen in other ethnicities.
The broadening of the lower face is often due to excessively strong Masseter muscles. Just as with any other muscle group, excessive contractions of these muscle results in the muscles enlarging (hypertrophy) and the excessive pull of the Masseter muscles on the jawbone, causes the jawbone to grow in the direction of the muscle pull.
By weakening the muscle activity with Botulinum Toxin, the muscles reduce in size. Therefore the pulling effect on the jawbone is reduced and the lower face shape changes and becomes more slim.
The effect begins to be noticeable about 6 weeks after treatment, although maximal reduction in facial width may require several treatment sessions, usually 12 weeks apart. Regular 3-6 monthly treatments are required to maintain the improved shape.
This treatment is more suited to people under 40 years old as once heaviness in the lower face develops, reducing the jaw width can result in increased ‘jowling’ effect and more prominent ‘marionette’ folds in the areas from the corners of the mouth to the jawline.
This procedure of weakening the Masseter muscles is also highly successful in people who grind their teeth.
Occasionally, some weakening of chewing results but this effect is temporary and wears off towards the 3 month mark. It is recommended to avoid chewing on hard foods and chewing gum as these serve to strengthen the weakened muscles and counteracts the benefits of the treatment.
However, immediately after treatment, Dr ILANA advises to chew chewing gum to encourage the treatment to take effect in the stronger portions of the Masseter muscles.
It is important to realise that only the lower part of the Masseter muscles are injected to avoid affecting the other muscles of facial expression and speech.