Botox has worldwide notoriety as the treatment of choice for retaining a youthful appearance and a luminous complexion. Botox has gained fame for its use by movie stars who seek this elixir of sorts for its anti-aging properties.
But the benefits of Botox are more than skin deep as it is evolving in use at dental offices!
Botox Has Gained Acceptance in Dental Community
The Dental Quality Assurance Commission (DQAC) of Washington released an interpretive statement effective July 26, 2013, which now affirms the ability of general dentists to use Botox and dermal fillers when “used to treat functional or aesthetic dental conditions and their direct aesthetic consequences and the treating dentist has appropriate, verifiable training and experience.”
State dental boards are increasingly in support of allowing dentists to offer Botox treatments to patients. As a result, scores of dentists in the U.S. are getting Botox training. For more than a decade, regulatory boards have authorized the use of Botox as a viable tool for pain relief in dentist offices.
“This was pretty much a natural extension as more and more regulatory dental boards accepted the use of Botox and fillers as the standard of practice in dentistry,” said Dr. Louis Malcmacher, president of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics, which trains dentists and other health care professionals in applying the treatments.
In fact, the dental industry is gradually evolving to accept Botox as a mainstream treatment option for good reasons.
How Botox Help With Dental Issues
1) Relieving Persistent Pain Due to Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
Patients who have various types of TMJ can often benefit from Botox treatment. The pain associated with TMJ Disorders is due to muscular paint from hyperactivity of the muscles of mastication or chewing. Treatment options to relieve this pain have been limited. For facial pain and TMJ cases, Botox neurotoxins can be generally applied to a number of muscles that affect facial expression and the ability to chew. Now, by using Botox to relax these muscles, dentists can provide pain relief that has eluded patients in the past with these conditions.
2) Cushioning the Effects of Teeth Clenching
Bruxism, or teeth clenching and grinding, can be minimized with Botox injections as they reduce the force of the muscular contractions involved. Training for Botox neurotoxins is essential among dentists. Treating Bruxism calls for bilateral injections of Botox into the masseter muscle — which helps a person bite down or chew — and temporalis muscle — one of several chewing muscles. When used in the right amount, Botox will reduce the intensity of contractions of these chewing muscles. What’s more, Botox can serve as an adjunct therapy to night guards.
3) Reducing High Lip Line or “Gummy Smile”
Botox has been found to be helpful in reducing a high lip line without the need for gingival surgery — a procedure in which the gums are separated from the teeth and folded back temporarily to allow a dentist to reach the root of the tooth and the bone. By relaxing the lip muscles, a lower more aesthetic smile line can be achieved in a less invasive manner. Though the Botox treatments are temporary, they offer patients a more immediate and less aggressive treatment option.
4) Botox Helps Patients Who Need Dentures
Patients who are lacking some or all of their teeth can benefit from Botox treatment in situations where their lip muscles have become repositioned due to decreased vertical dimension. This makes it challenging to accommodate new dentures. Botox is used to relax and retrain the muscles around a new denture. This makes the transition easier and more successful.
How Botox Can Relieve Pain
By now quite clear, Botox has many practical and important benefits for dental patients. Botox products are ideally suited for dental therapeutic uses in a number of areas that include pain relief and pain management as they relate to dental procedures.
The pain relief happens by Botox inhibiting the release of acetylcholine — a neurotransmitter, which is a chemical released by a nerve cell or neuron. Acetylcholine causes muscles to contract, activates pain responses and regulates endocrine and REM sleep functions. By inhibiting the release of acetylcholine, Botox effectively will either reduce the intensity of the muscle contraction or it will eliminate the contraction altogether, depending on the dosage used.
Put simply, Botox interrupts the contraction process of the muscles and causes a temporary muscle paralysis. This can last usually up to three months as the muscle initiates new acetylcholine receptors and the growth of branches from the neurons to form new synaptic contacts. Eventually, the muscle returns to its full function and with no side effects!
The uses of Botox injections in the oral area and the maxillofacial area—relating to the jaws and face, are nothing new. It is possible to find literature dating back nearly two decades ago when it comes to the application of Botox injections for dental procedures.
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