You may be wondering, “what are they thinking…. Botox in dentistry…. seriously?” Some wonder what has happened to the traditional approach of just fixing teeth and gums. Is this a money-making technique that does little to serve the patient’s health and well-being? Believe it or not, Botox does have a place in dentistry!
Botox is a neuromodulator that works by temporarily paralyzing the muscles it is injected into. It can be used for both medical and cosmetic purposes. When used cosmetically, it is most commonly injected into the forehead to reduce wrinkles. Botox can also be used to treat conditions such as migraines, excessive sweating, and muscle spasms.
So, what does Botox have to do with dentistry?
Not too long ago, it was considered trifling to enhance a patient’s smile through tooth whitening procedures, porcelain or composite veneers, and even orthodontic realignment, purely for cosmetic purposes. Physical health and function were all that needed to be considered…. nothing else had anything to do with dentistry. Thankfully, this way of thinking is not present in most dental offices today. Health and function can and should go hand-in-hand.
Function and aesthetics are partners and work together to achieve the best health. Many dentists now will listen to their patients’ concerns about the appearance of their teeth instead of just dismissing them with a statement like “the teeth are healthy and there is nothing wrong.”
Injections of Botox into the masseter muscle can be used to treat bruxism, or teeth grinding. Botox injections can also be used to treat gummy smiles. When injected into the gum tissue, Botox can cause the gums to recede, making the teeth look longer. Botox can also be used to treat TMJ disorders.
So, as you can see, Botox does have a place in the dental world! If you are considering any type of cosmetic dental procedure, be sure to talk to your dentist about whether or not Botox may be right for you.