Bruxism or “teeth grinding” or “teeth clenching” is the commonest cause of enlarged cheeks. This comes about due to enlargement of the masseter muscles and is correctly called “masseter hypertrophy” or “masseter enlargement“. The masseter muscle is the largest and most powerful of all the muscles of mastication (chewing). Just like any other muscle, when you use it more than usual it enlarges over time, just like when a weight lifter does a lot of bicep curls and develops big bicep muscles.
When people develop enlarged masseter muscles they may sometimes say that they have “hamster cheeks”.
Many people with this condition would rather that they didn’t and may seek cheek reduction treatment for it.
How is Masseter Hypertrophy Treated?
Masseter hypertrophy can be treated by injecting a small volume of properly diluted Botulium toxin into the base of the masseter muscles on both sides of the face. Over the space of a few days, the muscles will start to weaken and relax. This results in a fairly rapid reduction in the prominent appearance of the masseter muscles. As time goes on, the muscle fibres shrink further due to being used less and this improves the appearance further. Effects can last 6-9 months.