Our dentists at Coyne Dentistry are proud to provide our patients with the most advanced dental treatments and therapies. A treatment becoming increasingly popular in dentistry for its versatility in treatments, therapies, and applications is Botox.
You’re likely already familiar with Botox treatments for combating one of the most notorious signs of aging — specifically, wrinkles — but Botox actually also has several therapeutic applications in addition to its original cosmetic purpose.
What Is Botox?
Botox is a type of injection that contains the neurotoxin onobotulinumtoxinA, which is produced by the botulism microbe (a type of food poisoning).
Applied carefully to certain muscle groups, onobotulinumtoxinA blocks the chemical signals that contract muscles from the nerve receptors in the muscles. As a result, muscles treated with Botox become temporarily paralyzed.
Medical Applications of Botox
Most commonly, Botox injections are used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by relaxing muscles in the forehead and around the eyes. However, a variety of additional medical indications for Botox have been approved by the FDA.
Some of these include:
- Chronic migraine
- Cervical dystonia
- Strabismus (lazy eye)
- Eye twitching
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Muscle contractures
- Bladder dysfunction and overactive bladder
How Is Botox Used in Dentistry?
In dentistry, Botox offers additional therapeutic benefits to patients who suffer from several concerns. Some therapeutic applications of Botox in dentistry include:
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder
TMJ disorder can lead to excessive muscle tension in the temporomandibular joints, face, neck, and jaw. Precisely placed Botox injections temporarily prevent these muscle groups from contracting.
Botox injections for TMJ disorder provide just enough muscle relaxation to mitigate the pain, tension, tenderness, lockjaw, and frequent headaches and migraines caused by TMJ disorder — while still allowing the movement necessary for chewing and speaking.
Additionally, patients who have produced excessive jawbone matter also experience a reduction in bone mass following TMJ therapy with Botox injections because the constant pressure of clenching that stimulates bone production in the jawbone is prevented.
Bruxism is characterized by frequent jaw clenching and teeth grinding, often while a person sleeps (sleep bruxism).
This condition not only wears down tooth enamel, increasing your risk of tooth decay, but it can also cause TMJ disorder and lead to frequent headaches, migraines, neck pain, jaw pain, face pain, shoulder pain, and upper back pain.
Although the exact cause of bruxism is unknown, Botox injections placed in the muscle groups responsible for jaw clenching and teeth grinding reduce the frequency and intensity of these episodes. As a result, patients experience immense relief from their symptoms.
Better Fitting Dentures
Although they are the preferred tooth replacement option for many patients, dentures increase the vertical dimension of a patient’s mouth. As a result, some patient’s lip muscles can become repositioned, making it difficult to adjust to and wear dentures comfortably.
With Botox injections, our dentists can help patients relax and retrain the local muscle groups (including those responsible for lip movement) to improve the comfort and function of wearing dentures.
High Lip Line or Gummy Smile
As a less-invasive alternative to gum contouring (gingivectomy), Botox can also be used to relax the lip muscles to create a more aesthetically appealing lip line for patients who might feel self-conscious about the portion of their gums that show when they smile.
Find Out if Botox Is Right for You
If you suffer from any of the above-listed oral health problems, we strongly encourage you to speak with one of our dentists at Coyne Dentistry to find out if Botox is right for you. Our team can talk with you about Botox, how it works, and answer any questions you might have about the safety of the treatment and other medical indications for treatment with Botox.
To learn more or schedule a consultation, please contact our office today.