It’s impossible to ignore the impact that cosmetics have in our society, but did you know dentists can also use Botox for other things? Yes, you read that right. There is a new trend in the usage of Botox in dentistry. It’s not common yet, but things could change in the future.
Botox is no longer used only to reduce lines and wrinkles on the face. It’s made a more significant impact in the world of dentistry, becoming an effective solution to dental problems by relaxing muscles to avoid grinding, wearing down of the teeth, and even migraines that stem from oral health issues.
Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding, causes problems like facial pain, excessive wear of the teeth, migraines, and increased muscular tension. To treat bruxism, patients typically use a mouth guard at night to protect the teeth. This treatment solution is often complemented by taking medications to relax muscles and help you sleep. However, there is a limit to how much a night guard and medication can help you avoid more serious issues. That’s where scientists believe Botox can help.
How Does Botox Work?
Botulinum toxin (Botox) is a protein, derived from the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. (Don’t be confused with the botulism bacterium, though. Botox is purified for safety in medical laboratories to make sure it’s safe for consumers.) That’s a mouthful, but essentially this bacterium blocks nerve endings and prevents muscle contractions. The muscle relaxes because it undergoes denervation (a loss of nerve supply). The effect takes two to four days, and it reaches its maximum effect after 15 days of application. This action is reversible, and its effect only lasts from three to six months.
Botox in Dentistry
Botox, when applied to nerve endings in the muscles of the jaw, will help the muscles relax without losing mobility. The injections eliminate headaches or toothaches caused by excessive teeth grinding. Used effectively, Botox should prevent bruxism.
Dentists have specialized knowledge of the head and neck because they treat things that happen in those areas. The middle and lower third of the face has a significant number of muscles. The anatomy must be deeply understood, and small doses applied. Some applications of Botox in dentistry are:
- A gingival or “gummy” smile
- Jaw pain
- Mouth and face pain
- Excessive salivation
- Cracks or pits in the corners of a mouth
There are some side effects to consider, as well.
If Botox is accidentally spread throughout the body, it can affect other nerve endings, leading to possible incontinence, general muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, or difficulty breathing. Additionally, overuse of Botox can cause resistance to the drug.
As you can see, Botox has other uses beyond cosmetic procedures. The therapeutic results obtained with the application of Botox are beneficial for many specialties in dentistry. Talking with the experts at Danville Family Dental, or speaking with your doctor, you can come up with a treatment plan that works best for you. Call us today at 317-745-4400 to make an appointment and discuss alternative treatment options to common problems.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.