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Dentistry/Jaw muscles


QUESTION: Dear Mr. Karmen
I have a question many people debate on (some people say it is true, others say it's not). My question is: does clenching your teeth make your jaw muscles bigger over time? If this is true, how long does it take for them to increase in size? Thanks in advance for you time.


ANSWER: Hello Alexander,

Your question is a good one and the answer is that with any type of isometric exercise, which is what clenching truly is, the muscle strength and size can increase.  To the second part of your question I wish I could give you a definitive answer, the best I can do is say that it varies.  As with any weight lifter, they will tell you that genetics plays a part in muscle growth as well as diet so in some people it could be a fairly rapid growth, in others there might be little. The jaw muscles are constantly being used, each time we swallow or each time we lift something the muscles are exercised the degree of growth will thus depend on genetics and the individual type or clenching one does and how often.

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QUESTION: Thank you Mr. Karmen for your fast reply and for your time to answer my question; it was very well elaborated and easy to understand. As far as the subject concerns, I have one more question: does age have any influence on jaw muscles growth ? (I'm strictly talking about people older than 18 years old) If yes, could you tell me when is the peak growth rate for male individuals? Thanks you again for your time.


Hello again Alexander,

Jaw growth is dependent on so many thing, including nutrition and as we mentioned previously genetics.  The most growth comes in the early teen years which is why Orthodontics is often finished around that time and also retainers are placed to prevent relapse, but that's another topic.  TO answer you the best I can tell you is that it peak mid face growth comes from about 12 to 18 years of age but again, muscle development is very dependent on exercise and activity.  Males, as you now, develop more slowly than females but the best answer I can give you is that it would be during the teens.  It is easier to answer about facial growth and bone development as the muscles tend to follow that growth.  I hope this helps you and thanks for your good questions.

Dr. Karmen


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Thomas Karmen


All general dentistry questions, especially those related to fixed prosthetics. Endodontics, Periodontics, and implants, minor oral surgery I can't answer much about othodontics nor advanced treatment of carcinoma nor deep tissue surgery nor osseous surgery such as jaw reduction or advancement.


DDS In general practice and consulting with having done some lecturing for local dental societies.

ADA and Florida Dental Association and Iowa Dental association

DDS degree

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