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How Can Botox Be Used in Dentistry?
Botulinum toxin A, (Botox), is commonly used in many non-surgical cosmetic procedures. When most people hear the word Botox, they think of getting rid of wrinkles and lifting skin to make you look younger. Botox works great for that, but it also has some very valuable uses in dentistry as well.
First, let us begin by discussing how Botox actually works. Botox works by blocking the signals sent from the nerves to the muscles. When the nerve sends a signal to the muscle telling it to contract, the muscle doesn't get the message. The muscle is essentially paralyzed. The effects of Botox are not permanent. (Generally, it wears off in 3 to 5 months.)
Botox is slowly beginning to make its mark in the world of dentistry. According to the American Academy of Facial Esthetics, "approximately 7% to 8% of dentists in North America are now providing Botox treatment to patients for cosmetic treatment." However, Botox use isn't just for cosmetic purposes. It can be used to relieve pain and control muscle movement after treatment. Some uses for Botox are:
TMJ, Facial Pain, and Bruxism
One of the most common complaints that people have who are suffering from a TMJ disorder and/or bruxism is that they have pain in their face and jaw area. Some people have gone through treatment for their TMJ, including having their teeth fixed and bite adjusted, and they still can't get much relief from their facial pain associated with their TMJ disorder. Some people suffering from bruxism, wear their appliance and they still can't get much relief. They are just simply frustrated and miserable. Disappointed because they still feel pain.
Botox can help these patients. Botox is a muscle relaxer. It reduces the intensity of the muscle contractions, giving the patient some much needed relief.
Correcting a High Lip Line
Many patients who have a high lip line absolutely hate it. They don't like the look of their gum tissue showing. Botox can be used in the lip area to weaken the muscles, relaxing them, so a patient is unable to raise their lip as high as before.
Patients are really happy once their orthodontic treatment has ended and they see their new beautiful smiles. No more overbite or underbite. No more crowded or misaligned teeth. Their mouth is just simply perfect. For some people, their perfect bite and smile only lasts temporarily as their muscles begin to move and shift their teeth. Botox is used to control muscle movement after the orthodontic treatment has ended.
It can be difficult for some patients to adjust to new dentures. Some people get that frustrated that they refuse to wear their dentures unless they absolutely have to. They are sick and tired of adhesives and no matter what they do, they have a hard time getting used to wearing them, let alone speaking and eating with them.
Botox can help patients during the first few weeks of adjusting to their new dentures by relaxing the muscles of the mouth.
Cosmetic dentistry is all about creating that beautiful smile the patient has always dreamed of. The patient visions a certain look and the dentist does his/her best to create that look. More and more cosmetic dentists are beginning to use Botox in addition to cosmetic dental procedures to help their patients look good and feel better about themselves. Restoring their self-esteem and confidence.
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* Articles on Dental Health Blog were written by Jennifer Eckert, unless otherwise stated.