What Therapeutic Botox® Can Treat
When thinking about Botox®, most people imagine the process of reducing facial wrinkles, but the injections are used in many ways. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons have offered these treatments for many years as cosmetic fixes for the signs of aging. Recently, dentists have started to include injections in their daily practices.
What is Botox?
The bacteria Clostridium botulinum produces a neurotoxin that can be isolated and purified in a lab setting for medical use. When ingested, this toxin can cause severe food poisoning, but when small amounts are injected into the muscles, it provides medical benefits by weakening over-contracted muscles. Originally, it was created to treat conditions like muscle spasms of the eyelids, but now it is used to cure other cosmetic concerns, including those of the mouth.
Benefits in dentistry
While dental procedures are important to the overall health of the gums and teeth, therapeutic Botox injections can help patients achieve both cosmetic and medical results. Often many people correctly associate Botox with cosmetic facial procedures. However, while Botox effectively reduces wrinkles and fine lines, it can also have several oral health-related benefits. Below, we will look at the cosmetic benefits of Botox and other ways the treatment can reduce pain and tension and enhance oral health.
Improvement of smiles
Botox injections into the upper and lower lip muscles change the overall appearance of a patient’s face. When injections are placed in the muscles that connect to the lower jaw and lips, these muscles relax and allow for less pull on the corners of the lips. This reduced pull decreases fine lines at the corners of the mouth and corrects the appearance of a frown on a resting face. Using Botox injections to lessen fine lines around the mouth can be a welcome compliment to a smile makeover.
Injections into the upper lip muscles can correct a smile with excessive gum exposure. When the upper lip muscles contract too much, they pull the lips back drastically, exposing large amounts of the upper gum line. This extra gingival display is sometimes referred to as a gummy smile. Sometimes this pulling can be unequal, leading to a lopsided smile. Injections administered here relax muscles, allowing the lips to lay in a more natural position along the gumline.
Injections can also be placed directly into the gum line. In some patients, the upper gumline can retract more than normal, creating pockets between each tooth where it meets the gums. These gaps tend to fill with food particles that alter the look of a smile. Botox injections into the gumline relax the muscles, filling these pockets, and fewer particles can gather into a patient’s smile. This application can have oral hygiene benefits as well.
Improvement of medical conditions
Typically, jaw clenching and teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is corrected by a dentist customizing a mouth guard for the patient. This dental appliance keeps the patient from grinding their teeth during sleep, which deteriorates tooth enamel. However, if a patient finds compliance to be an issue, a dentist can turn to Botox injections to alleviate symptoms of bruxism.
Injections into the muscles of the jaw can reduce the strength of these muscles when they contract, leading to various benefits, including:
- Decreased tension in the temporomandibular joint
- Decreased grinding and jaw clenching
- Improved healing after orthodontic surgery
- Decreased jaw pain
Botox can also be helpful in orthodontic treatment and in helping people adjust to dentures. Some dentists are exploring how botox can help new patients adjust to wearing dentures. This treatment can help control mouth muscles movement that may cause dislodged dentures. Many people do not associate orthodontics with Botox. However, injections of Botox can be helpful here as well. Botox injections can keep mouth muscles from contributing to malocclusion or the misalignment of teeth.
What to expect
Botox injections are offered on an outpatient basis. Because the procedure is so minimally invasive, there is usually no downtime. Though rare, some patients experience side effects. These can include a minor headache, swelling, and bruising. However, the dentist will advise the patient on how to handle these side effects if they arise. Immediately after Botox treatment, we advise patients to avoid touching the treated area for at least a day.
Botox injections can be useful for patients that have both dental and cosmetic concerns. Much like teeth alignment and teeth whitening, this procedure can improve the overall aesthetic of a smile, bringing a patient more confidence.
Are you considering Botox in the Oak Brook area? Get more information at https://www.oakbrookdentist.com.
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