When you think of Botox you probably think of cosmetic surgery. While this medication is typically used to treat fine lines and wrinkles and give people a more useful appearance, it also has a more clinical function in the world of dentistry.
What is Botox?
Botox is a drug made from the toxin produced by clostridium botulinum. While this toxin is dangerous when found in foods, medical research has shown that very small doses are effective in treating a variety of health problems. From smoothing wrinkles to helping with migraines, Botox does a lot of good in the world of medicine.
How does Botox work?
Botox works by essentially paralyzingly muscles. It does this by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine, which is responsible for muscle contractions. The paralysis can last for as long as three months, after which the muscles return to their normal function without any side effects.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is a common complaint that patients come to the doctor for. It’s characterized by clicking and locking of the jaw, pain in the jaw, and sometimes swelling. It’s estimated that up to 80% of patients have some sort of TMD issue.
A variety of treatments are available to treat TMD, including physical therapy, chiropractic care, muscle relaxants, and narcotics. The latter of these treatments – narcotics and muscle relaxants – are highly addictive and don’t get to the root of the problem. They simply treat a symptom. Physical therapy and chiropractic treatment don’t always work for everyone and when they do work they can be temporary.
Botox DNA helps ease TMD and has been used for treatment for several years. Botox inhibits the muscle so that it is not constantly in spasm. Once the muscles are relaxed the dentist can then work on getting the correct occlusal equilibration.
Bruxism is also known as grinding teeth or clenching your jaw at night. Many people don’t realize they even do it until they begin to experience pain in their jaw, cracked and chipped teeth, and worn down teeth. Bruxism typically occurs at night while an individual is sleeping and is often related to stress, as well as a slew of other factors.
When Botox is injected into your masseter (chewing) muscle and will reduce their ability to grind and clench at night, without impacting their ability to eat, chew, and speak. It is crucial that a practitioner knows the right amount of Botox to use in patients as too little won’t have an effect and too much can severely inhibit jaw function.
Orthodontic treatment is used to help align the jaw and mouth. Unfortunately, patients with tight or misaligned fascist muscles are harder to treat because their muscles impact the alignment of the mouth. Even when properly aligned, good orthodontic work can be reversed due to facial muscle issues.
Botox works by reducing the facial muscle contractions so that the dentists can ensure both your muscles and teeth are properly aligned. This helps prevents orthodontic relapse and ensure long lasting results.