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I have noticed that one of my masseter muscles seems to be…

Customer Question
I have noticed that...

I have noticed that one of my masseter muscles seems to be larger than the other causing some major asymmetry in my face. I'm wondering if some sort of mouth guard to wear when I sleep would help, as I believe it's cause by clenching my jaw?

Doctor's Assistant: Have you noticed any recent swelling? Do you have any tooth pain?

No. I don't have any tooth pain and I don't think it's swelling at all.

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Dental
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Answered in 1 minute by:
9/27/2017
Dentist: Lara Coseo, Dentist (DDS or equivalent) replied 10 months ago
Lara Coseo
Lara Coseo, Dentist (DDS or equivalent)
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 707
Experience: Awarded, licensed dentist with over 13 years experience
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Good afternoon! I'd be happy to help you figure out what is going on.

Typically when someone has asymmetrical masseter muscle size, it indicates that the bite is off, meaning your upper and lower teeth do not contact each other evenly on left and right sides of your mouth. Do you think this could be the case with you?

Sincerely,

Dr. Lara

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I don't think so, considering I had braces and wear my retainer every night. I think that my bite should be fine, but I could be wrong. Would this be an obvious thing?
Dentist: Lara Coseo, Dentist (DDS or equivalent) replied 10 months ago

To some people it would seem that they can chew "better" or more effectively on one side than another, or they would notice that they only chew on one side of the mouth. Other people don't notice because the way their mouth is feels "normal" even if it's not a balanced bite.

Just like any muscle in the body, the masseter will get bigger when it does more work.

Is there a chance that it's not the muscle? There are some conditions where one side of the jaw starts to shrink or deteriorate, which makes the other side look larger by comparison. Could you send me a photo of your face?

Sincerely,

Dr. Lara

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I definitely feel as though I can chew better on the larger side. I may have been only chewing on this side for quite some time and I've been consciously trying to stop but it seems to be more difficult than I thought. I noticed I also seem to clench down on my jaw now because of the muscle being larger. I tend to do this in my sleep and when I'm stressed. It becomes painful and can even lead to headaches sometimes.
Dentist: Lara Coseo, Dentist (DDS or equivalent) replied 10 months ago

Thank you for that picture. That shows your concern very well. I do see the asymmetry. I think it is important to rule out a problem in the TMJ, and that would be accomplished by having a 3-D scan, called a cone beam computed topography, or CBCT done. Because you are not having any symptoms, this is not urgent. You should discuss it with your dentist at your next visit. It would be important to rule out a problem in the joint, so that you know that you are getting the right kind of nightguard. I do believe you need to be wearing a night guard to sleep.

It is possible that this is just a muscular problem, and wearing the night guard could create a better balance between your right and left muscles. The only reason I bring up the joint is that it could cause problems in the future. It's the CBCT rules out a joint problem, then you are correct in your assessment that this is just a muscular asymmetry, and a night guard Should help.

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely,

Dr. Lara

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