Your smile is one of the first things other people notice about you, and one of the features they remember the most. Fortunately, dental professionals have more knowledge and research than ever, allowing us to create and maintain beautiful smiles for our patients.This includes innovative treatments like Botox!
Here at Accent Smile Center, Dr. Ford Gatgens uses Botox in several different ways, from migraine treatment to non-surgical facelifts. Let’s take a closer look at the exciting ways Botox can be used to improve and enhance your smile and oral health!
Botox in dentistry
Botox has traditionally been used by medical professionals for cosmetic procedures. As specialists learned more about it, however, treatment with Botox has expanded into the dental industry. There are a number of dental and orthodontic treatments that can successfully resolve issues associated with TMD, clenching and grinding the teeth, headaches, and migraines. However, some cases may be severe enough that other treatment is also needed. Botox can be used in conjunction with more traditional treatment to provide relief from pain due to TMD, clenching, and grinding. It can also alleviate recurring headaches and chronic migraines, and can even treat “gummy” smiles!
The benefits of Botox in dentistry
Botox injections help relax the nerve endings that cause muscle spasms. Even though they’re most often used for cosmetic facial procedures, this means Botox can also be used to support dental treatments for a number of issues. We’ve highlighted a few of them below.
TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder
It’s not unusual for people to use TMD and TMJ interchangeably, but they’re not actually the same thing. TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge point that connects our jaw bones to our head. This mobile joint is located directly in front of the ears, and its ability to glide, rotate, and act as a powerful hinge is what gives us the ability to speak and chew our food.
The TMJ is also surrounded by a number of complex protectors like tendons, muscles, and joint pads. These components usually get along well, but if they’re thrown off course for any reason, it can result in pain, popping, and inflammation. This is when TMD can become an issue.
TMD is associated with a wide range of issues. Some patients may experience issues on both sides of their face, while others will only have issues with one side. Some people might have occasional mild symptoms, while others struggle daily.
The most common signs of TMD tend to include:
- pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint, neck, or shoulders
- pain in or around the ear when chewing or speaking
- difficulty opening the mouth wide
- jaws that get stuck or locked in an open- or closed-mouth position
- popping or other noise in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth
- popping or other noise in the jaw when chewing
- a “tired” feeling in the face
- difficulty chewing
- feeling as though your upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly
- swelling on the side of your face
- ringing or stuffy ears
- migraines or headaches
Botox is a successful alternative treatment for TMD and the tension and pain that can accompany it. When we inject it into sore and uncomfortable facial muscles, it can offer relief for patients suffering from persistent TMD symptoms. Because it’s a non-surgical procedure, injections can be administered right here in our office and require no downtime or hospital stay. The length of the treatment procedure will depend on the number of injections needed as determined by Dr. Gatgens, but most procedures are completed in less than an hour.
The Botulinum toxin in the injection works by blocking the transfer of neurotransmitters between the nerve endings and the symptomatic muscle. This prevents the muscle from fully contracting, giving it the chance to relax and heal. Most patients will experience noticeable improvement within 7 days of their first treatment, and many find that Botox greatly diminishes or even eliminates the pain associated with TMD. Results last approximately three to four months,
Bruxism is the medical term for the clenching and grinding of the teeth, which can happen during waking or sleeping hours. This repeated action can lead to physical pain and various dental problems, including advanced tooth wear. Chronic teeth grinding may also cause headaches, earaches, facial pain, and even migraines.
There are dental and orthodontic devices that can protect the teeth from nighttime damage caused by bruxism, but they don’t always stop the painful side effects of teeth grinding. By injecting small doses of Botox directly into the large muscle that moves the jaw, Dr. Gatgens is able to target excessive activity and spasticity, weakening the muscle enough to stop involuntary grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. This can provide relief from soreness in the jaw, headaches, and soften the jawline. The treatment typically lasts three to four months.
Bruxism is a term that describes general grinding and clenching of the teeth. Dentists aren’t completely sure why this occurs in their patients, but it is often associated with high levels of stress. Bruxism can have many effects on a patient’s oral health, like damaging the teeth, worsening symptoms of periodontal disease, and potentially causing TMD. Like TMD, bruxism is also associated with symptoms like headaches or earaches.
Cosmetic dental procedures
There are many reasons for visiting a dentist that go beyond preventive care or typical treatment like fillings and crowns. We have many patients who come to us for cosmetic procedures like veneers or professional tooth whitening. Botox treatments can help support and enhance these efforts by complimenting the appearance of the teeth when smiling! Botox can also be used to eliminate wrinkles around the mouth and heighten your lips for a bigger, brighter smile!
Think outside the box with Botox from Accent Smile Center
Dr. Ford Gatgens is a cosmetic and family dentist who also offers periodontal treatment, cosmetic dentistry, Juvederm, and a variety of options to help you feel good about your smile and your dental health! If you’re in Dickson or the surrounding areas and would like to learn more about the benefits of Botox treatments in dentistry, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.