A dentist offering Botox?
You may be surprised to learn that Botox in dentistry is not new — dentists have administered Botox therapy for years! But many people don’t fully understand (or even know about) its amazing aesthetic and therapeutic capabilities.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this safe, simple, and highly effective dental treatment we’re proud to offer at our Rogue Valley dentist office.
What is Botox?
Botox is a purified protein that, when injected, attaches to muscles and temporarily prevents them from contracting. This drug was originally developed in the 1970s as a treatment for crossed eyes but has a long history of other types of medically therapeutic uses involving muscular conditions. Botox is currently used to treat over 20 different medical conditions.
Today, Botox is widely known and used for treating esthetic issues — mostly removing wrinkles and fine lines from the face. In fact, Botox is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic therapy, with more than 6 million treatments administered each year!
Behind the scenes all these years, Botox has also slowly been growing commonplace in the modern dental office. This therapeutic protein has a tremendous ability to help patients both cosmetically and functionally.
How does Botox work?
At its simplest, Botox works by preventing nerve cell signals from reaching your muscles. It’s a naturally occurring protein that relaxes muscles that cause wrinkles.
In order for your muscles to contract, your nerves send out a chemical messenger. This neurotransmitter is released at the junction where your nerve endings meet muscle cells. Attaching to the muscle cell receptors, this neurotransmitter causes your muscle cells to contract or shorten.
When Botox is injected, it temporarily prevents the release of this neurotransmitter, reducing abnormal muscle contraction and allowing your muscles to relax and become less stiff.
The many uses of dental Botox
Although dentists often offer Botox as a finishing touch for dental cosmetic treatments, the use of Botox in dentistry stems from one primary goal: relieving pain and helping patients feel their very best.
In particular, Botox offer amazing benefits to those suffering from dental issues causing head, neck, and jaw pain.
The temporomandibular joint (also known as the TMJ) in your jaw allows you to chew and speak. Unfortunately, it’s also highly sensitive to physical, emotional, and even psychological stress. The results can be very uncomfortable, including:
- Sore cheeks and jaw
- Facial swelling
- Headaches or migraines
- Pain radiating down your neck and ears
- Clicking sounds in your jaw
Botox for TMJ has been shown to be a highly effective — on its own or in conjunction with other dentist-recommended treatments.
By helping relax your jaw and eliminate tension, patients find Botox to be a great way to reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and pain caused by TMJ. Since Botox can also help reduce symptoms of anxiety, the resulting endorphin release may help relieve stress in your life contributing to your TMJ issues.
Tooth clenching & grinding (bruxism)
Another jaw-related issue, tooth clenching and grinding (also called bruxism) not only causes pain but also serious problems for your dental health.
Those suffering from jaw clenching often find their jaw feels tight, even when relaxing or sleeping. But many people who grind their teeth at night don’t even know they’re doing it! The result can be:
- TMJ pain
- Unnecessary tooth wear
- Chips, cracks, and breaks in teeth
- Gum recession
- Head and neck pain including migraines and chronic tension headaches
Your dentist will likely recommend dental treatments like a custom-made mouth guard to make it impossible to grind and clench your teeth during the night. But there’s evidence that Botox can work wonders in relaxing the muscles that cause the grinding and clenching in the first place.
Reducing symptoms of anxiety & depression
As we learned above, an anxiety-filled lifestyle often contributes to facial and head pain and issues. It’s just one of the reasons Dr. Catt and our entire team want you to feel great about your smile! When you love your smile and appearance, you’ll feel happier and be less stressed.
In that sense, using Botox to improve the look and texture of your skin can not only help you feel better about and be more confident in your smile, but prevent facial muscle tension from developing in the first place.
After a cosmetic treatment like Invisalign or veneers, Botox therapy is a great finishing touch, helping smooth out fine lines and wrinkles to bring out the best in your smile.
But you don’t have to have recently undergone a cosmetic dental procedure to be interested in the anti-aging effects of Botox. You may simply want to improve the look of your naturally beautiful smile by using Botox to reduce and eliminate:
- Brow lines
- Forehead lines
- Crows feet around the eyes
- Lip lines
What to expect from a dental Botox procedure
If you’ve never used Botox injections before, you probably have a few questions about what the procedure involves and what sort of timeline and results you can expect.
At our dental practice, we’ll make sure to help you fully understand the procedure before we begin — we want to make sure we’re on the same page and you feel comfortable and confident in your care.
Here’s a general overview of what you can expect from your dental botox treatment:
- Depending on your specific needs, you’ll likely receive several injections throughout your facial muscles. Most patients report feeling little to no discomfort from these injections.
- Within a few hours of Botox being injected, it will begin to attach to your nerve endings. However, it will take a few days(usually 24-72 hours) for the toxins to completely block the transmission of nerve signals and fully relax your muscles.
- The Botox will not affect the nerves connected to your sensory neurons — the ones you need to feel pain, touch, and temperature.
- The Botox in your muscles will continue to block the nerve signals for approximately 3-4 months.
Is dental Botox right for you? Talk to Dr. Catt!
Are you interested in learning more about dental Botox treatments? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Catt to evaluate your needs.
Dr Catt has spent a lot of time studying head and neck anatomy as has completed training at the Pacific Institute for Facial Aesthetics. He has firsthand knowledge of how valuable and effective dental Botox® treatments could be and will help you understand if this treatment is right for you.
Call (541) 772-8846 to get started.