The Benefits of Botox for Your Dental Needs

When you hear about Botox® injections, most people think of a wrinkle reducer in cosmetic procedures. And that’s no surprise, as plasticsurgery.org indicates that in 2018, Americans got over 7.4 million injections for facial rejuvenation treatments! Botox, however, can do much more than remove wrinkles. It’s also an effective treatment for a variety of dental conditions.

At Smylique Dentistry in Rochester, New York, Dr. Indra Quagliata specializes in facial aesthetics and how they relate to dental health, and that includes the use of Botox. She wants her patients to understand how they can benefit from Botox treatments for a variety of conditions, so she’s put together this quick guide to get you in the know.

Understanding Botox

Botox is a neurotoxin that comes from the bacterium clostridium botulinum. It uses botulinum toxin type A — OnabotulinumtoxinA — the same toxin that causes food poisoning, to temporarily paralyze muscles. The toxin prevents the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACH), which is responsible for activating muscle contraction and glandular secretion; the effect is a reduction of the injected muscle’s tone. 

Botox was first FDA-approved in 1989, but only for the treatment of blepharospasm (eye spasms) and other eye muscle problems. In 2002, the FDA approved Botox Cosmetic as a treatment for moderate-to-severe frown lines (the “11” lines) between the eyebrows. It was further approved in 2013 to reduce crow’s feet, wrinkles around the corners of the eyes.

Botox, dentistry, and facial aesthetics

Though it may seem kind of surprising to use a cosmetic treatment in the dentist’s office, Botox is now a staple in the industry, both for aesthetic and dental needs. That’s reflected in how Dr. Quagliata recognizes that, although your oral health is important, the appearance of your face also contributes greatly to the quality of your smile.

Botox’s migration into dental practices received a boost when, on July 26, 2013, The Dental Quality Assurance Commission (DQAC) of Washington affirmed the ability of general dentists to use Botox when “used to treat functional or aesthetic dental conditions and their direct aesthetic consequences, and the treating dentist has appropriate, verifiable training and experience.” Similarly, Michigan’s board of dentistry and New Jersey’s state board also approved Botox’s use by general dentists. Today, it’s the norm.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), also found that Botox showed promising results in the management of muscle-generated dental diseases like bruxism, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, clenching, and masseter hypertrophy, as well as in the treatment of aesthetic dental conditions such as radial lip lines, high lip lines, deep nasolabial folds, and black triangles between teeth.

Let’s look at a few examples of Botox’s benefits in dental practice.

Bruxism

Also known as teeth clenching and/or grinding, bruxism can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and damaged teeth. Recent research indicates that Botox injections block signals from your brain to your jaw muscles, allowing you to unclench. That permits you to chew, talk, and open and close your mouth without pain.

And even though the injections reduce muscle movement, they don’t stop it completely, which means you can make all your normal facial expressions without looking “frozen” or unnatural.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder

Your TM joint is a hinged joint that connects your skull to your mandible and allows you to open and close your mouth, chew, and speak. The joint can become damaged because of injury, clenching, poor tooth alignment, and a number of other causes. Symptoms include:

Botox may help treat symptoms by relaxing the muscles surrounding the joint and allowing you greater movement without pain. It generally benefits patients who haven’t found success with other treatments.

Facial aesthetics

If you’re having Botox treatment for an oral health condition, why not consider using it on your face at the same time?

Muscle movements cause what are known as “dynamic wrinkles,” wrinkles that develop as a result of repetitive muscle movement over a period of time. Since Botox relaxes the muscles that cause these wrinkles, the fine lines, crow’s feet, and forehead lines relax as well, disappearing into your skin for as long as the drug stays in your system (about three to four months).

Dr. Quagliata may also suggest platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) treatments to accelerate your recovery time from the injections. This regenerative medicine technique uses your own blood’s growth factors to “heal” the injection sites more rapidly.

Want to learn more about how Botox can meet your dental needs? Call Smylique Dentistry at 585-207-2159, or schedule an appointment online today.

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