Botox has been used for decades to treat wrinkles and other facial creases caused by the natural aging process. Also known as OnabotulinumtoxinA, Botox works by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles to prevent movement. Today, this popular drug is used for more than aesthetic reasons. In dentistry, these treatments are effective at relieving Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) pain and tension headaches that are not helped with night guards. These treatments can even be conveniently administered during your regular cleaning appointments.
What Is Botox?
Botox is a type of toxin produced by the microbe known to cause botulism, a form of food poisoning. When used in small quantities, these injections can safely and temporarily prevent muscle movement.
Botox is most commonly used to lessen the appearance of facial wrinkles. However, it can also be used to treat other medical conditions, such as overactive bladder, neck spasms (cervical dystonia), lazy eye, and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis).
During the procedure, your dentist will use a thin needle to inject very small amounts of botulinum toxin into the muscles or skin. The number of injections required will depend on several factors, such as the size of the area being treated.
Who Can Benefit from Botox?
In dentistry, Botox can benefit patients dealing with a wide range of conditions. Some of the most common uses of Botox in dentistry include:
- Edentulous Patients – Patients who are missing all of their teeth can benefit from Botox treatments. Due to reduced vertical dimension, the lip muscles can become repositioned. Botox can help retrain and relax the muscles to make the transition to dentures more comfortable.
- “Gummy” Smile or High Lip Line – If you have a high lip line or “gummy” smile in which a lot of the gums are seen when you smile, you may be a good candidate for Botox. Botox treatments help relax the lip muscles to achieve a lower and more aesthetic smile line.
- TMJ Disorder – TMJ disorder can cause severe pain due to the hyperactivity of the muscles. With Botox, patients can get relief by relaxing these muscles.
- Bruxism – Bruxism, otherwise known as tooth grinding or clenching, can often be minimized with the use of Botox treatments. Botox helps with bruxism by reducing the pressure of muscle contractions. Patients can also use Botox in combination with their night guard appliances.
Why Try Botox Treatments?
Not sure if Botox is right for you? Here are some of the biggest benefits of trying Botox:
1. Professional Cosmetic Outcomes
Today, many cosmetic dentists are trained in facial muscles, facial aesthetics, and facial anatomy. With proper training, Botox injections can be used to help balance facial asymmetry and reduce the effects of aging.
2. Expanded Services
Dentists offer Botox services that extend beyond looks alone. When you visit your dentist for Botox treatments, you can help lessen or resolve a wide range of problems, such as tension headaches and TMJ pain. These nontraditional services are drawing in a larger number of patients in search of relief.
3. Patient Convenience
Convenience is a top priority for many patients who live busy lives. Instead of making a separate appointment for Botox injections, you can have your Botox injected at the same time as your normal cleaning appointment. This can help save you time while having a positive impact on your health.
4. Comfortable Treatments
There is a common misconception that this is a painful procedure. In reality, most patients admit that the injections feel similar to a slight pinch and are not generally painful. To make patients more comfortable, many dentists use a topical anesthetic to reduce pain levels to virtually zero.
Schedule an Appointment
Need to find a dentist in your area that offers Botox services? Bonham Dental Arts offers professional treatments to help patients who suffer from tension headaches, TMJ pain, and other conditions. Administered by Dr. Amy Bonham, these treatments can help adults of all ages achieve better dental health and wellness. Contact the Bonham dental office today to schedule your appointment.