Updated: Oct 11, 2022
Singaporeans can sometimes look in the mirror and wonder why they have square jaws.
At the heart of it, a square jaw is the result of having larger jaw muscles called the masseter muscle.
Masseter muscle, in red. (image from Wikipedia)
The reasons for square jaws are generally as such:
Genetic: Asian men and women tend to have more square-shaped jaws
Diet and habits: if you chew on a lot of hard or chewy foods often, you are “training” your jaw muscles to grow. Some examples are almonds (a hard food) or bubble tea pearls (a chewy treat).
Overnight tendencies: when we sleep, we’re unconscious about what we are doing. Unfortunately, some people grind their teeth or clench hard, which results in the development of your jaw muscles.
Aesthetically pleasing jaws start with square jaw reduction
Looking good plays a big part in your self-confidence.For people with a square jaw, this can harm their self-confidence when they look in the mirror or in photos.
It comes down to how we perceive a square jaw.
Society perceives hard corners and distinctly-angled shapes as a sign of masculinity. For example, think about circles and ovals versus squares and rectangles.
Just think about the headlights on a car. Cars perceived as friendly and feminine will generally have rounded headlights while aggressive and masculine cars will have more rectangular and sharper edges.
And just like headlights, your jaw shape sends a subtle message about yourself.
The goal of square jaw treatments at our clinic is to carve out a V-shaped jaw line.
With a more subtle, curvier and gradual jaw, you can present yourself better in public.
The best part about square jaw treatments in our clinic is that it’s painless, simple and quick Botulinum Toxin/Botox/Btx treatment (see below).
Square jaws can also be harmful for your teeth’s durability
We’re generally aware of how we’re using our muscles except when we’re asleep.
This is a period of time where we might be unconsciously causing our masseter muscle to grow.
What happens when you continuously use a muscle?
Simple. It grows larger.
A square jaw is a sign that your masseter muscle, which is the muscle you use to chew, is very large and strong.
When it comes to your teeth, having a strong muscle can cause problems.
It means that you can exert a strong biting force on your teeth. Teeth aren’t indestructible and if you bite too hard, you might cause pain and damage on every bite. In the longer term, this might cause extensive damage that requires crowning, root canals and maybe extraction.
Square jaw treatment in Singapore
Square jaws can be treated in several ways with each having their own benefits and applications.
Our dentists can advise on what’s best in your case, but in general, all Singaporean dentists will look to these four options:
One easy way to reduce your square jaw is by using some specifically designed nightguard to reduce clenching and grinding.
A nightguard is basically something you wear between your top and bottom rows of teeth overnight.
It helps reduce overnight grinding and clenching, which are ways in which your jaw muscles develop over time.
Our dentists can detect whether you are showing signs of overnight grinding and clenching, hence will be able to advise you whether a nightguard is suitable for you.
If our dentists determine that a nightguard is a suitable solution for you, we’d invite you to get a dental imprint of your teeth which gets sent to a lab where your personal nightguard would be created.
Once the nightguard is made, you will wear it every night after brushing your teeth.
Having a nightguard will reduce the chronic overnight “training” of your jaw muscles, which means that over time, you might see a sustained reduction of your square jaw.
Getting a nightguard is a painless process and a dental imprint can be done in one sitting at the dental office. In addition, nightguards require no healing or medical leave from work.
Botulinum Toxin/ Botox
Botulinum Toxin injections can help you reduce the size of your jaw muscles.
Every injection of Botulinum Toxin will reduce your jaw muscles and help you achieve your goal whether it’s to achieve a V-shaped jaw line or to reduce damage from teeth grinding and clenching.
You will see the effect of Botulinum Toxin quite quickly, by a few days to 2 weeks, and it will last for about six months.
Dentists with relevant training can administer botulinum toxin for facial aesthetics treatment, at Gentle Smile Dental Studio only use botulinum toxin to treat dental-related conditions such as square jaw and gummy smile.
Injections of Botox are very similar to getting a vaccine as they are quick and generally painless beyond the initial jab.
Every injection will reduce your jaw muscles, which is why dosage varies depending on your goals. If your goal is to reduce teeth damage from grinding and clenching, a dentist will typically give you a lower dosage. If your goal is to carve a V-shaped jaw contour, you will likely get a higher dosage.
The effect of Botox is quick. In one month, you should see some change, with the most visible change peaking around three months.
Shrinking of your muscles can also lead to some changes such as your ability to bite in the way you’re used to.
If you find that you can’t bite properly, it might be because the amount of jaw muscle shrinkage required to achieve a V-shape jaw was significant.
So you might not have the same ease of biting as you had before.
It’s the same as the annual NAPFA 2.4km run you had to do in school.
After the annual test, most people will stop running regularly, and as a result, their muscles shrink and weaken.
So, when the next year comes, starting from zero will cause aches and sores.
Just like overexertion of any muscle, if you overexert your shrunken jaw muscles, you might experience headaches(from overusing of temporalis muscle). This type of headache can be lessened by massaging the sides of your head.
Botox injections for square jaws last for about three to six months. However, if you are prone to grinding and clenching, you might need a supplementary injection.
Botox is quick, effective and causes no disruption in a person’s work and leisure time.
Braces or clear aligners (e.g. Invisalign, Clear Correct)
Sometimes we’re not blessed with having well-aligned teeth. It’s epigenetic and therefore only dental intervention can correct it.
There are many reasons why you should get braces or clear aligners. For example, having a proper bite will help you reduce tooth wear and pains.
Specific to your jaw shape, realigning your teeth with braces or clear aligners will help you achieve a more pleasant facial look.
Braces and clear aligners(e.g Invisalign, Clear Correct) can reduce a “deep bite” which is a misalignment of the teeth where the upper front teeth excessively overlap the bottom front teeth.
Having deep bite can potentially cause the the lower jaw to be trapped behind the upper jaw, which contributes to the square jaw look that you want to avoid.
Braces or clear aligners will gradually reverse this as your teeth become more aligned day by day.
Jaw surgery is a major undertaking but can help you improve your bite and jaw shape in a way that no other method can.
For one, you will be able to reshape your jaw and chin in many ways because a surgeon can shave, cut and carve the perfect shape for you.
The effects of jaw surgery are also permanent and require no further intervention for most people.
Typical timelines for jaw surgery is a few weeks. Here’s a breakdown:
A few hours: Consultation with a surgeon
One day: Typically, a surgery is a one-day operation
Within 1 week post-op: Removal of bandages
2-3 weeks post-op: Return to normal life and work
Beyond 1 month post-op: Swelling subsides fully
When you are recovering from surgery, you will have to adapt to a “recovery lifestyle” that includes:
drinking food for the first week, and avoiding hard foods for a month.
No smoking or alcohol
Wearing a bandages on your face for about a week
No strenuous activities for at least a month
Sleeping face-up, in an elevated position.
Gentle Smile Dental Studio can help your square jaw
How we look can make or break our confidence, and confidence is a very important part of success in business, relationships and family life.
If your square jaw is harming your ability to smile in photos and among people, then you should consider having square jaw treatment at our Millenia Walk clinic.
Likewise, if you are seeing the deterioration of your teeth as a result of grinding and clenching due to overpowering jaw muscles, you will experience longer-lasting teeth with prompt square jaw treatment.
Among the four options – nightguard, Botox, clear aligners and surgery – our dentists will be able to find a suitable one for you that will reduce your square jaw with minimal disruption to your everyday life, and help you achieve your personal goals.