One of the surgical procedures that I perform for the purposes of smile reanimation is something called the Lengthening Temporalis Myoplasty. What that involves is moving one of the biting muscles or chewing muscles, which is located on the side of the head, down through the face and reconnecting it to the corner of the mouth. And by way of that, we are really sort of repurposing the temporalis muscle itself to trigger it only for the purposes of smiling. The effect of the procedure is that smiling is restored when someone goes to bite initially. And that’s an important aspect of the expectations of the patient postoperatively. They need to know that when they actually want to bite, they will trigger their smile on that side of the face. The physical therapist’s role in this setting is to retrain that muscle for the purposes of only smiling, and that may take several weeks or that may take several months to accomplish that.
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