Sometimes, to get the most out of your smile, we need to consider the entire framework of your face, including the lips, cheeks, and even the area around the eyes. (And yes, your eyes are as critical to your smile as your teeth.)
Botox is one of the easiest and most effective ways to shape your smile and smooth out some unwanted wrinkles, but most people seem to assume that there is a distinct separation between it and the other treatments you may receive in our office.
The fact is that Botox treatments in a dental office are becoming more common because, while it does help us design and deliver your ideal smile, it can also serve a number of other important functions.
Using Botox to Treat Dental Conditions
Botox isn’t just about smoothing wrinkles. The FDA has actually approved the use of Botox for a wide range of medical applications. At your appointment, we can use it to treat the muscle strains that lead to clenching and grinding your teeth, and we can even alleviate the migraines that are often a result of stress in those grinding and clenching muscles.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) is another condition that can be treated with Botox. People who are suffering from this disorder often feel an aching pain in their facial muscles, but the situation can get much worse than that. In some cases, the joints get so stiff that it’s difficult to even open or close their mouths. When Botox is injected into the muscles that are affected by TMJ, it can relieve the pain and the stress headaches that often come with it.
How Does Botox Work?
A lot of muscles work together to pull off the perfect smile. Eventually, after repeated use, they begin to make lines appear in the face. We often refer to these lines as “dynamic wrinkle lines” because they result from all the activity from those muscles.
Botox uses a process called cosmetic denervation to block some of the transmitters in some of those muscles, effectively limiting their ability to contract and create wrinkles. Despite what you may have seen on TV, you don’t actually lose any sensory feeling in those muscles. They just can’t contract anymore.
The process is simple and practically painless. The needle is so small that you should only feel a slight stinging sensation during the injection. The procedure doesn’t even require any anesthesia. However, it is possible for some patients to see some slight bruising around the injection area the first day, but they quickly fade away.
It is important to note that, like many cosmetic treatments, Botox is not a permanent solution. Most treatments will last for six months or so. After that, you may need to set an appointment for another treatment.
Why Are Dentists Doing This?
A lot of people are still surprised to learn that they can get a Botox treatment in the same place where they get their teeth whitened. Yes, they’re both cosmetic treatments, but one involves hard teeth and enamel and the other involves soft muscle and skin. Most people assume that they have to see a plastic surgeon for this kind of treatment. But, once you set up an appointment there, you’ll find that it’s usually the nurses or the assistants that actually administer the Botox.
Cosmetic dentists have a unique focus on the physiology, muscle groups, and skeletal structure of the face. It’s what we spend the most time learning about and working on. We understand how the lips and cheeks should frame your pearly white teeth, and we can design your smile accordingly.
If you’ve thought about Botox as a way to augment your smile, but didn’t want to set up an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon, maybe it’s time to talk to us about it at your next dental appointment.