The buccinator is an important muscle of your oral cavity. It is located between your masseter and the corner of your mouth.
In case of tensions or the presence of trigger points, it can cause pain in the cheek and jaw.
On this page, you will learn, among other facts, how these tensions come about and how you can relieve them with a self-massage.
Tensions and trigger points in the buccinator can cause local pain in the cheek.
These are often perceived as deep-seated pain in the cheek and jaw.
In addition to pain, the following ailments might appear:
With the following differential diagnoses, you should bear in mind that these and trigger points are not mutually exclusive. That means they can coexist.
A dental abscess can manifest through pain which is very similar to the pain caused by tensions in the buccinator.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction/TMD often shows similar symptoms to those caused by trigger points in this muscle.
If pain occurs in the jaw, it is often misinterpreted as TMD. It is therefore important to consider trigger points.
But as mentioned before, a TMD and trigger points are NOT mutually exclusive, and can also influence each other.
TMD can lead to trigger points in the buccinator or masseter, due to the pain it causes.
Trigger points in these muscles can also result in TMD in the long term, as muscle function is disturbed, and muscle tension is altered.
This is often reflected in an articular dysfunction – a disorder concerning the function of a joint, in this case the temporomandibular joint.
When the buccinator contracts, it reduces the space in the oral cavity.
It also supports the retraction of the corners of the mouth.
Thus, it contributes in the following activities:
This muscle is above all overloaded if you constantly pull faces or exaggerate when practicing wind instruments.
To palpate the muscle, proceed as follows:
Note: Further “back”, towards the jaw, you will encounter a much thicker and clearly defined muscle which runs vertically from your upper jaw to your lower jaw.
This is no longer the buccinator, but your masseter.
The best way to massage this muscle is with the thumb and index finger. As a massage technique, I recommend the precise rolling movements.