Buccinator Pain Pattern

The Buccinator Muscle

The buccinator muscle is located in the cheek. The pain caused by trigger points in the muscle can feel like a painful cavity or even an abscessed tooth.

The muscle can also cause pain when chewing, moving food around in the mouth and swallowing.

Contents of Article


    Buccinator Muscle

    Where Is The Buccinator Muscle?

    The buccinator attaches the upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) to the lips.

    What Movements Does It Control?

    • Draws the corners of the mouth back
    • Draws the cheeks in when you blow air out through the mouth
    • Assists with chewing

    For detailed anatomy information: Buccinator Anatomy

    What Pain and Symptoms Are Associated With the Buccinator Muscle?

    Deep pain in the cheek is the most common sign of a trigger point in the buccinator. Moving food around in the mouth may also cause discomfort and chewing may be painful.

    Trigger points can also cause pain in the upper teeth that feel like a cavity or even pain that feels like an abscessed tooth.

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    What Causes Trigger Points In the Buccinator?

    Ill-fitting dentures, partials, and mouthpieces are the biggest contributor to buccinator trigger points. If you find your pain and discomfort increasing or coming and going please have the fit checked on any mouthpieces.

    If you take a direct blow to the cheek there is a chance of TrPs developing in the buccinator and other muscles of the cheek.

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    Buccinator Trigger Point Treatment

    Buccinator trigger points are easily treated. Place your thumb in your mouth along the inside of the cheek as close as possible to the joint of the jaw. Using your fingers on the outside of the cheek to apply pressure, begin checking for exceptionally tender spots, small painful bands, and knots. If you find a trigger point when it is pressed it will replicate your pain. Put gentle pressure on the area for about 10 seconds then release. Do not apply pressure longer as it will aggravate the tissue instead of helping. Do this treatment 3-4 times throughout the day until the knot can no longer be felt and the pain is gone.

    The best resource to learn how to treat small painful knots is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. The authors explain trigger points and their effects in everyday language, not medical speak. I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning to treat their own muscle pain.

    Interesting facts about the buccinator muscle

    The buccinator is the muscle that helps you move food around in your mouth

    Clinical diagnoses to which the buccinator muscle symptoms may contribute:

    • Temporal mandibular joint dysfunction (TMD)
    • Abscessed Tooth Pain
    • Tension Headache


    Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the buccinator:

    Satellite trigger points associated with the muscle:

    If you find trigger points in the buccinator you will want to check these muscles for additional trigger points.

    • Temporalis
    • Medial Pterygoids
    • Masseter Muscle on the opposite side