When it comes to the shape of your face, few people are born with a completely snatched jawline. Sure, some might tell you that their lockdown obsession with gua sha yielded pretty good results, but going at your face twice daily with rose quartz doesn't fit into everyone's schedule. Then came the TikTok beauty trend of jawline contouring, because if you can't be naturally blessed with an ultra-cut jawline, you can always fake it with strategically placed highlighter. Basically, all these little things were gearing up for the inevitable boom of jaw Botox.
The sudden obsession with the angularity of our side profiles can be partially credited to the influence of the celebrity set, as a seemingly growing list continue appearing with chiselled jawlines that you could've sworn weren't there before.
This is where jaw Botox comes in. It's the cosmetic procedure that's booming in popularity for more reasons than you'd probably expect (and no, not all of them are cosmetic).
Okay, so what is it?
"Jaw Botox is basically injecting into the two main muscles of the jaw which are the masseter muscle and sometimes the temporalis muscle," Dr. Amrinder Oberoi, of Sydney-based clinic Skin and Teeth, told ELLE Australia.
The masseter muscle is used for chewing, and it's the right angle where your jawline hinges on either side of your skull. For some people (with big masseters) it's really pronounced, giving a squarer appearance, while people with smaller masseters can have a more rounded face.
"When Botox is injected into the muscles it paralyses or freezes them, stopping them from moving," Dr. Oberoi explained. The result is two-fold: it prevents you from grinding your teeth, and can reduce the size of your masseters, 'slimming down' the shape of your face.
That being said, no change happens overnight, so you're not going to wake up the next day looking like Bella Hadid (sorry).
Why are people getting it?
Last year, Emily Pow, Victorian Dental Association councillor, told the ABC that teeth and jaw grinding was at an all-time high, likely compounded by the stresses associated with the pandemic. Asides from obvious repercussions like a cracked tooth, excessive grinding can also cause headaches and neck aches.
Dr. Oberoi notes that jawline injections, courtesy of their ability to stop movement of the muscle, can "reduce or completely correct" these grinding issues.
It's no wonder then that many of us (particularly the stressed among us) are increasingly seeking the treatment out.
So it can have medical and cosmetic benefits?
In short, depending on what your exact issue is — yes.
"Injections to the jaw can be done to create a more slim-lined look to the face," Dr. Oberoi explained, before adding that "Botox injections may shrink the muscles over time."
The biggest cosmetic benefit is slimming out a square-face shape, creating a more streamlined appearance from the cheeks down to the chin. Essentially, it's that snatched look all the runway models typically have (but again, not overnight).
As for how the shape and structure of your face can impact your teeth/smile and vice versa, he says it actually plays a bigger role than you'd think.
"It can either compliment it or detract from it," Dr. Oberoi explained. "For example, a new set of porcelain veneers can be wonderfully topped off with a subtle lip injection or cheek enhancement — it really finishes off the process and completes the story for our patients."
All this is not to say that everyone should be rushing to get Botox in their jaws, especially if it's not something you've a) given proper thought to or b) need for medical reasons. Still, it's interesting to see the parallels drawn between the cosmetic and medical world, which seem galaxies apart at times but are actually much closer together than you might think.
One typically works out of necessity while the other is born from desire, but when the two collide, there really can be mutually beneficial impacts. There's a reason jaw Botox is on the rise, and whether it's due to its non-invasiveness, ability to reduce teeth grinding or the aesthetic benefits — that's for you to decide.