Facial changes caused by Bruxism (teeth grinding)

Image shows a girl suffering from bruxism who has developed square jaw due to muscle overgrowth and bone remodelling as side effect of teeth-grinding.
Teeth grinding causes square jaw to develop.

Our looks form a major part of our self confidence. Also, people form a primitive outlook about us based on our facial features and expression. In such a scenario, facial changes caused by bruxism (teeth grinding) can hamper our self confidence and distort our expressions.

Today, we discuss about such changes in look caused by teeth-grinding and possible corrective treatment options for this changes.

Article’s Content

  • Which facial changes happen due to bruxism ?
  • How do this facial changes occur ?
  • Are this facial changes reversible ?
  • Which are the available treatment options ?
  • Do this treatments provide permanent solution ?

Which facial changes happen due to bruxism?

Bruxism affects facial skin and facial muscles leading to following enlisted changes :

  1. Enlargement (hypertrophy) of facial muscles. This causes square shape of jaw to develop.
  2. Premature ageing of face occurs.
  3. Skin looks dull and lifeless and starts to thin out (atrophy).
  4. ligaments, muscles and skin become lax causing a drooped down facial appearance (jowl).
  5. Jaw bones shape changes.
  6. Fat distribution in face changes. This gives a tired look.

How do this facial changes occur ?

Bruxism (teeth-grinding) causes frequent contraction of jaw muscles. Our jaw muscles ( used for chewing ) are amongst the strongest muscles in our body.

Hence, when they contract they generate a lot of amount of force. This force is transmitted to our teeth, gums and bones which are negatively impacted.

Image showing a patient suffering from bruxism asking the question as to how teeth grinding causes facial changes like square jaw. Excessive forces due to repeated muscle contraction cause facial changes.
Excessive forces due to repeated muscle contraction cause facial changes.

Frequent muscular contraction leads to muscle fibres enlarging. This causes muscle mass to increase (hypertrophy). You can compare this growth with your gym exercises causing biceps. Such growth leads to the face looking larger.

Also, the force generated causes the underlying bone to remodel itself so that it does not fracture. This adoptive mechanism leads to square jaw formation.

As the underlying muscles and bone undergo changes, the overlying skin also stretches and loosens. This causes wrinkles, drooping of the corner of mouth. This leads to aged look in comparison to real age.

Are this facial changes reversible ?

Image showing a patient consulting a doctor for aesthetic treatment like Botox, laser and surgical treatments for correction of facial changes due to bruxism (teeth grinding).
Aesthetic treatments like botox can be used to correct facial changes.

There is no definitive answer for this question. If the degree of such changes is not much, then just treating bruxism can reverse such changes.

However, if such changes are long standing in nature, then even bruxism (teeth-grinding) treatment may not help you to get back a completely normal look. In such a case, you may need to undergo the following listed treatments as required.

Which are the available treatment options ?

Various aesthetic improving treatments are available today. However, you should undergo any of this treatments only after a thorough discussion about it’s pros and cons with your primary healthcare provider or dentist.

The different treatment options available to improve appearance are as follows :

Image shows a patient undergoing aesthetic treatment like Dermal fillers and laser treatments to correct facial changes caused by teethgrinding (bruxism).
Dermal fillers and laser treatments can be used to correct facial changes.
  1. Botox treatment : to re-define facial contours.
  2. Dermal fillers like Hyaluronic acid : to destroy overgrown muscle fibres and form new collagen fibres.
  3. Laser treatment for skin tightening : laser treatment removes the upper layer of skin (epidermis) causing new cells to form.
  4. Bone stimulatory fillers like Calcium Hydroxyapatite to remodel bone. : this helps bone growth at sites where it is damaged by excessive forces.
  5. surgical corrections (plastic surgery) : to correct bony overgrowths or insert facial implants.

Do this treatments provide permanent solution ?

Except for the surgical treatment option, all the other options give a temporary result. You need to undergo the procedures repeatedly. This becomes cumbersome and costly. Also, related side effects may worsen the situation in the long term.

So, a better option to counter such facial changes is by way of treating bruxism first and adding muscle relaxing physiotherapy to the treatment plan.

Such a multi-pronged approach can help eliminate the root cause of bruxism and stop further damage/changes from happening.


Bruxism as such is a painful condition. Facial changes in addition to this pain can lead to decrease in work efficiency and confidence. This changes impact both, professional and personal life.

Thus, the best way to deal with the side effects of bruxism including facial changes, is to treat the root cause of bruxism while undergoing muscle relaxing therapy (physiotherapy) instead of costly aesthetic treatment options.


Aguilera SB, Brown L, Perico VA. Aesthetic Treatment of Bruxism. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 May;10(5):49-55. Epub 2017 May 1. PMID: 28670358; PMCID: PMC5479477.

Published by StephyK

Dentist with years of experience in private dental hospitals.

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