Everyone aspires to have a beautiful smile. But over time, our once-bright smiles can become discolored, and smoking, eating berries, drinking red wine or other colored beverages, and eating spaghetti sauce might hasten this process. Because so many of our patients have noticed a deterioration in the color of their teeth over time, teeth whitening…
Esthetic Dentistry and Botox
In cosmetic applications, Botox® injections help combat skin lines and wrinkles. This treatment is also becoming a staple of esthetic dentistry thanks to its wide range of applications for oral conditions.
What is Botox®?
Clostridium botulinum bacteria produce toxins that block the signals from the nerves to the muscles, preventing muscle contractions. Dissolving minuscule amounts of this toxin in saline creates the familiar brand Botox®. Although Botox® did not receive FDA approval for cosmetic use until 2002, Clostridium botulinum toxins started to be used decades earlier to treat various conditions:
- Chronic migraine
- Bladder dysfunction
- Multiple sclerosis
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle dystonia
In 2013, The Dental Quality Assurance Commission of Washington issued a statement affirming the benefits of using Botox® for esthetic dentistry.
In what ways is Botox® beneficial for esthetic dentistry?
Esthetic dentists address the anatomical reasons for the unsatisfactory appearance of the teeth, mouth, and face. While the primary goal of cosmetic dentistry is to improve the way a patient's mouth looks, esthetic dentists address how function affects appearance. To this end, Botox® treatment is an excellent option to address various issues.
Tooth loss can cause remaining teeth to shift and alter the vertical movement of the lip muscles, making dentures challenging to fit or wear. Botox® injections can relax the lip muscles to help patients become accustomed to a new way of positioning the lips that prevent them from pressing against the dentures, thereby allowing a more secure fit and eliminating uncomfortable sensations.
Temporomandibular joint discomfort
Teeth clenching, genetics, and arthritis can cause pain in the TMJ and the muscles surrounding it, misalign the jaw, wear down the teeth, and induce headaches. Esthetic dentists can inject Botox® into the masseter, temporalis, and frontalis muscles of the face to help them relax and prevent unconscious jaw movements that lead to discomfort. Patients may start to feel relief as soon as one day following treatment, with results usually lasting up to five months.
This condition results in an enlargement of one or both masseter muscles involved in chewing; it limits mouth opening and associates with teeth grinding, clenching, and facial asymmetries. In addition, masseter hypertrophy is a painful condition that can make eating challenging and chewing intolerable. Botox® injected into the enlarged muscle causes its atrophy and reduces swelling to relieve discomfort. In addition, the treatment restores the jawline's appearance and the patient's ability to chew effectively.
High lip line
Esthetic dentists frequently administer Botox® to address structural problems in the mouth that cause patients to feel self-conscious. For example, a high lip line causes overexposure of the gum and is most apparent when the lip muscle becomes hyperactive when smiling. In addition to creating an awkward appearance, the condition can limit the desired impact of reconstructive procedures involving implants, crowns, and other prosthetics. Injecting Botox® into the upper lip muscle helps relax it enough to expose less gingival tissue when patients smile.
Botox® injections are helpful to treat structural issues affecting the appearance of the teeth, gums, and face. This minimally invasive esthetic dentistry treatment improves various conditions and produces fast results.
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