Commonly associated with its uses in aesthetic medicine, the botulinum A toxin or Botox is also used in dentistry for treating dental and medical health issues. A purified protein, Botox is generally used to keep muscles from contracting. It is injected into the muscles, where it affects the nerve endings to prevent nerve transmissions.
Using Botox is generally safe as long as skilled medical or dental professionals with proper training and experience perform the injections. As a temporary treatment, Botox disappears from the body completely once it has worn off. Patients who undergo Botox treatments can rest assured knowing it has a very good track record for safety.
What is Botox Treatment?
In dentistry, Botox is most often used to treat Bruxism, which is more commonly known as teeth grinding or clenching. More than a bad, nighttime habit, Bruxism can actually destroy your teeth and dental work over time, as well as injure the inside of your mouth as well as your jaw.
To prevent further damage, Botox keeps a person from grinding or clenching their teeth because the muscles involved in grinding or clenching will not be able to contract or to move. A person who has been treated with Botox for Bruxism will notice that the pressure of the grinding or clenching has been reduced, even though the person can still chew as usual while eating.
The effects of the Botox treatment can be observed within two to three days after the injection, with the maximum effects being felt in about one to two weeks.
Botox is also generally used to treat jaw pain caused by the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. Because it prevents the muscles around the jaw from contracting, Botox can reduce TMJ pain, as well as headaches and aching facial muscles. Botox is likewise used in the treatment of migraines because of its ability to relax the muscles, providing migraine sufferers with months-long relief.
In using Botox for Bruxism and TMJ pain, it is well to note that Botox is not a cure, but rather provides relief, and a way to train the muscles involved to relax and contract less often or intensely.
Botox Treatment may also be used for treating:
- Chronic headaches
- “Upside down” or “inverted” smiles
- Excess puckering of the lips
- “Gummy” smiles or smiles that show too much gum
Are Botox Treatments painful?
Though Botox treatments involve injections, the injections themselves are small and the pain is minimal. In rare cases, Botox might cause flu-like symptoms or a fleeting headache, and the injection site might turn red. A patient who has had a Botox treatment must not lie down within four hours after the injections, and must not engage in strenuous activity within the next 24 hours.
Facials, sun exposure, massage, alcohol, tanning salons, makeup and heat packs must likewise be avoided. Sterile makeup may be used; what’s important is that for24 hours after treatment, the injection sites are kept clean and sweat-free.
Botox treatments must also be avoided by pregnant or lactating women as well as those with neurological disorders. If you have a cold, the flu, or any other infection, you should wait before having a Botox treatment, as well. Talk to the friendly experts on our Dental Focus team to find out if Botox treatments are best for you.