By Marisel Salazar When the coronavirus pandemic hit, I lost my income, social life and general way. To cope with this stress, I also started subconsciously clenching my jaw. I didn’t think much of it until the sides of my usually slim face started looking more like Gaston’s from Beauty and the Beast . I also started getting weekly migraines and other temporomandibular-joint (TMJ) pain, which only made me clench more. I decided to treat these symptoms with jaw Botox , and it was totally worth it, but there were several things that surprised me about the process. Botox isn’t just for preventing wrinkles Most are familiar with Botox for its wrinkle-smoothing powers, but Dr Ryan Neinstein, the board-certified New York plastic surgeon who did my procedure, told me it can also help reduce pain and aid in functional recovery. “Through its action on muscles that work on or around the temporomandibular joint, Botox can reduce jaw pain, teeth grinding, all at the same time slimming and contouring the lower face,” he said. How supermodel Linda Evangelista’s fat-freezing procedure went very wrong They didn’t numb me before the injections Neinstein explained that given the state of my jaw, he’d use about 30 units of Botox on each side of my face, which he said is pretty typical. I’m not afraid of needles, but I assumed they’d numb me up before starting. I learned that for this jaw procedure, numbing agents aren’t really necessary since the area isn’t particularly thin-skinned or sensitive. Being injected with Botox didn’t hurt at all Funnily enough, Neinstein told me to clench down on my jaw before giving me the injection (so he could pinpoint exactly where to place it). I took a deep breath, the needle went in, and before I could think, one side of my face was already done. It didn’t hurt at all. The skin around the jaw is naturally thick enough to handle the injection. Botox isn’t cheap, but neither was managing my pain The estimated cost for jaw Botox is US$600. But this number depends on how many units are used, so if your case is less severe, you’ll pay less. I didn’t flinch at this number because being migraine -free and having my face back was worth a lot more to me. In fact, I think I lost more money dealing with my pain. In some cases, though, depending on why you’re getting Botox and how severe your issues are, insurance providers can cover some of the cost. My face didn’t change instantly Unlike the instant gratification of a haircut, it took several weeks for me to notice any changes to my face. I didn’t even experience bruising or additional swelling, which was surprising because I’m prone to it. Luckily, while I waited for my face to deflate, my migraines decreased. It was such a relief to get those stolen hours of my life back. I felt very sleepy afterwards Drowsiness was one of my main side effects. I was super sleepy and groggy after the injections – I could barely keep my eyes open. But I had to be alert for at least four hours because Neinstein said I should stay upright so the Botox wouldn’t travel to other parts of my face. The injections last three to six months I’m not sure where I got it in my head that Botox is forever, but I learned that if I wanted to maintain results, I’d be making quarterly or biannual appointments. “Therapeutic changes start to occur around three weeks and can last three to six months,” Neinstein said.