Plastic surgeons administer Botox to prevent wrinkles. Doctors also inject Botox to treat certain health conditions, such as neck spasms, excessive sweating, and even migraines. But, did you know dentists use Botox in cosmetic dentistry for dental health and wellness?
A growing number of dentists are now offering Botox procedures for both cosmetic and therapeutic use. Botox is used to help make a smile more appealing and to treat certain dental conditions that can prevent a person from speaking, smiling, or eating normally.
Botox is a drug that contains the toxin Botulinum. Scientists isolated the toxin in the 1800s and spent decades studying it. In the 1950s, doctors began testing Botulinum’s paralyzing effects on patients with muscular disorders.
In the 1970s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Botulinum toxin for the treatment of strabismus, which is a disorder in which a person’s eyes do not look in the same direction. The treatment involves injecting the Botulinum toxin into the muscles of the strong eye to force the muscles of the weak or “lazy” eye to work properly. During the treatment of strabismus, surgeons discovered that injections into the skin could prevent wrinkles. The FDA approved Botox for the treatment of wrinkles shortly thereafter.
During the years since, researchers have learned that Botox treats a number of conditions caused or aggravated by overuse of certain muscles.
Injecting Botox into the body temporarily prevents muscles near the injection site from moving. Botox injections work by temporarily relaxing and paralyzing muscles. This is because of the relaxing effects of the toxins prevent the muscles from working.
How Dentists use Botox in the Office
Botox now plays an important role in the dentist’s office for a number of reasons.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a group of problems that affect the temporomandibular joint, where the jawbone connects to the skull. Hyperactive muscles at the temporomandibular joint can cause significant pain at the joint. Botox injections can solve jaw pain by relaxing these muscles to provide safe and effective pain relief from TMD.
Bruxism and Clenching of the Teeth
Bruxism is a condition in which a person unconsciously clenches and grinds his or her teeth while awake or asleep. Bruxism and clenching of the teeth can cause painful and severe dental problems. It also causes headaches, earaches, facial pain, and even migraines. Botox injections can reduce the force of the muscle contractions involved in bruxism. In fact, Botox injections work well in conjunction with night guard appliances that prevent grinding.
Botox can help reduce a “gummy smile” caused by a high lip line that exposes too much gum when a person smiles. Botox is helpful for patients who want to avoid the usual treatments for gummy smiles, which include gingival surgery and crown lengthening. Dentists inject Botox into the lip muscles to relax the muscles, which prevents the upper lip from lifting excessively high when the individual smiles. These injections provide an aesthetically pleasing smile line in a less invasive manner. While the treatment is temporary, the Botox injections give patients an immediate and less aggressive treatment option for gummy smiles.
Dental patients who have lost all of their teeth can also benefit from Botox treatments. Losing all your teeth can reposition your lip muscles. In time, the repositioning can make it difficult to accommodate new dentures. Dentists can administer Botox to relax and retrain the muscles around a new denture to make the transition easier and more successful.
Finding the Right Dentist for Botox
While using botox in dentistry is becoming more and more popular, it is important to note that not every dentist can offer you this service. This treatment can be administered during a regular cleaning appointment and requires no downtime. Finding a dentist who can help improve your smile from the inside out is key.
Luckily, Bonham Dental Arts offers Botox to help patients with TMJ disorders and to help alleviate the pain and discomfort that can’t be treated alone with a nightguard. Looking to see if botox for dentistry is right for you?