Botox the Next Big Thing
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Botox is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. While it’s the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism, its use as an injectable paralytic has been FDA approved for cosmetic procedures and more. In fact, it’s now commonly used in small doses to treat a variety of health problems including excessive sweating, excessive blinking, overactive bladder and even migraines.
Botox works by blocking nerve signals that control muscle movement, which makes them unable to contract, temporarily softening the skin around the area that was injected. It typically takes a few hours for results to be seen and they usually last about three months.
Botox in Dentistry
For most people who hear the word “Botox”, they think of wrinkle reducing injections used in cosmetic procedures. While it is true Botox was approved by the FDA for such, it is now expanding in its application due to the nerve blocking benefits it offers. In fact, a trip to your dental office could include your dentist offering Botox.
While some dentists do use Botox for cosmetic procedures, there are many other uses for Botox in dentistry.
Treatment of Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
Treatment of bruxism (teeth grinding)
Reducing a “gummy smile” without surgical intervention
Adjustment of lips before or after denture placement or oral surgeries.
Botox In Dentistry
Should a Dentist Do Botox?
Botox as a purely cosmetic procedure will likely never be part of a dentist’s repertoire – as their first and primary goal is oral health care. But, because dentists have extensive training on oral and facial anatomy, health and function, some say there is no one better qualified to administer Botox than a dentist.
In fact, some proponents of the use of Botox in dentistry claim dentists are the most qualified, and offer a better experience because they administer oral and facial injections on a regular basis. This makes the injections quick and less painful, because they are done with a skilled hand.
While the use of Botox in dentistry is controversial to some, it seems there may be a place for Botox in dentistry, to help both medically and cosmetically. According to the American Academy of Facial Aesthetics about 10% of dentists are currently trained to administer Botox with more seeking training every day. The American Dental Association even offers Botox training for its members!
Is Botox in dentistry the next big thing? We don’t have a crystal ball, but it’s a trend we envision increasing especially as demand grows and more and more state dental boards support the practice.