Beyond Beauty: The Surprising Uses of Botox in Dentistry

Botulinum toxin (BoNT-A), commonly known as BOTOX, has been used for cosmetic purposes in medical offices for years. However, it has several medical applications beyond its aesthetic use. Approximately 16% of dentists in North America use BoNT-A for both cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. The mechanism of BOTOX involves inhibiting the release of acetylcholine, which depolarizes the motor end plate of the muscle, causing muscle contraction. By reducing the intensity of the contraction or eliminating it, BOTOX acts as a temporary muscle paralytic.

BOTOX is a valuable tool in dentistry and can help relieve symptoms of facial pain disorders and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). In TMD, muscular trigger points radiate outward through the nerve bundles, and injecting BOTOX into these points can help relieve the muscle contraction intensity for a short period. BOTOX can also help manage teeth clenching (bruxism) by reducing the power of the muscle contractions that cause facial pain and limiting the damage caused by teeth clenching to oral tissues.

BOTOX can also be helpful in orthodontics, particularly for patients whose teeth relapse after orthodontic therapy. This relapse may be due to an overactive mentalis muscle, which causes spasms and contractions. BOTOX can prevent limited relapse following orthodontic treatment by reducing these spasms and contractions. BOTOX can also treat migraines and other headaches by preventing pain signals from reaching the nerve bundles in the head and neck.

BOTOX injections in the parotid and submaxillary glands can control excess saliva production. BOTOX can also restore facial symmetry by rebalancing the facial muscles and enhancing the eyebrow lift or depression of the brow. Finally, BOTOX can help reduce a gummy smile by reducing the amount of gum visible when smiling.


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