Yes! You read that correctly.
Hold on, Hold on. I'm confused.
Okay, let me explain. Like every area of your body, your face is lined by muscles, including the muscles that support and line your jaw. Specifically, the masseters are muscles in the face that are important in opening your jaw. If you exercise or over-work them, they will change in size and shape, just like if you work out your biceps.
Using your masseters normally, like using your arms normally, will not affect their appearance. However, if you over-work them by grinding (bruxism), for example, they may become more prominent and actually change your face shape.
So what does this all mean? Can I prevent this?
Custom-fitted oral apppliances (night guards) can reduce the impact of bruxism and help prevent some of the symptoms. Nonetheless, the night guard does not stop bruxism. It just helps mitigates symptoms of muscle pain, soreness, and headaches. Behavioral changes in daily activities and modifying sleep hygiene may help. Additionally, botox may actually help in preventing bruxism. Botox reduces the capacities of the masseters to contract. Of course, botox alone will not fully treat the symptoms of bruxism. Often, treating bruxism requires oral appliance therapy, behavioral modifications, and botox as an adjunctive treatment.