Botox is a substance approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cosmetic procedures such as eliminating wrinkles and certain medical procedures. Derived from the poisonous substance botulinum toxin, Botox temporarily freezes muscles by blocking nerve signals that controls the movement of muscles. Noticeable results typically appear within hours, and the effect of a single Botox treatment can last up to three months.
Some health conditions that respond well to Botox include migraine headaches, excessive sweating, and overactive bladder. Perhaps you knew this already and assumed Botox had no other uses. However, Botox has also proven effective in several dental treatments.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
TMJ is a common dental disorder that can become quite painful for people who suffer from it. Normally, your temporomandibular joints make it possible for you to open and close your jaws hundreds of times a day without thinking too much about it. When the joints become inflamed due to teeth grinding, arthritis, stress, or an unknown cause, it can produce a wide range of symptoms. Some of the most common ones include:
- Blurred vision
- Clicking and popping sounds when you open your mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Ear pain or ringing in the ears
- Headaches, including migraine headaches
- Jaw pain
- Shoulder pain
- Sore neck muscles
- Tongue pain
The typical treatment plan when a patient has TMJ is to attempt home remedies such as wearing a mouthguard at night to prevent clenching or applying ice to sore muscles and nerves. Surgery was a last resort in the past when these natural treatment methods failed to bring adequate relief. Since adding Botox, we have seen greater success with patients overcoming TMJ. Your dentist injects the sites where you are experiencing symptoms with a small needle for fast symptom relief.
Improve the Appearance of a Gummy Smile
Some people naturally have more gum tissue than others that can make them feel self-conscious about showing their smile to others. Correcting a gummy smile used to require laser surgery to move gum tissue upward. The team at Southbridge Dentistry can now achieve the same results with Botox. Your gums stay in the new position for about three months before you need to schedule another Botox injection.
Adjusting Lips Before Dental Implant or Other Oral Surgery
Your dentist needs to move your lips frequently during oral surgery, which can become uncomfortable for you. A Botox injection temporarily freezes your lips in an optimal position for oral surgery without the need to continually adjust them.
These are just three possibilities for using Botox in dental treatments. We encourage you to speak to your dentist if you’re considering a different dental procedure and think you could benefit from a Botox injection.
Only 10 Percent of Dentists Offer Botox Nationwide
The American Academy of Facial Aesthetics reports that only one in 10 dentists currently offer Botox to patients. We anticipate that number will grow significantly over time as both patients and dentists understand the benefit of Botox in this setting. Please contact Southbridge Dentistry at 303-798-4967 to schedule a consultation to learn more about Botox and dental treatments.