Botox, an injectable produced using botulinum toxin, has many uses, both cosmetic and medical, that may surprise some patients. In the past several years, dentists have also started using Botox to improve their patients’ health in addition to cosmetic dentistry purposes. Here are some of the basics of how board-certified dentists like Dr. Chern use Botox.
When did Botox Become a Dental Procedure?
While most people are more familiar with Botox’s use in cosmetic settings, the product was actually developed for medical purposes first. Dentists first began using Botox in the 2010s after noting its effectiveness in treating oral health conditions as well as improving the appearance of the oral area and smile. With advanced knowledge of facial and oral anatomy, dentists like Dr. Chern make excellent providers of Botox injections.
What Can Botox be Used to Treat at the Dentist?
Within dental practices, Botox can be used to treat a variety of conditions.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) disorder causes patients to grind or clench their teeth, resulting in clicking when chewing or talking, headaches, and potential damage to the teeth. TMJ can be treated with Botox by injecting the product into the jaw muscles so patients are unable to clench their jaws subconsciously. In addition to relieving pain and discomfort, many patients also note a slimmer, narrower, or softer appearance in the jawline as a result of Botox injections for TMJ.
Similar to TMJ treatment, Botox can be used for bruxism, or unconsciously clenching the teeth when asleep or awake. The injection point for bruxism may differ slightly than for TMJ, but the results are more or less the same.
Many patients may experience headaches as a result of clenching the jaw or due to chronic migraines. Botox can be strategically injected through the face, head, and neck to reduce the frequency or intensity of chronic headaches.
A gummy smile, or a smile that shows a significant amount of gum tissue, can be changed with Botox injections. To correct a gummy smile, Dr. Chern will inject Botox into the lip muscles, reducing the distance that the upper lip lifts, therefore reducing the amount of gum tissue that is revealed.
How Often Are Botox Injections Needed?
Botox treatment is not permanent, as the product is naturally metabolized by the body. The longevity of Botox’s effects varies from patient-to-patient and treatment area. Typically, dental patients who receive Botox treatment will have maintenance injections every six months.
How Long is Recovery After Botox from the Dentist?
Botox injections require no downtime. After receiving Botox from your dentist, you may experience some redness and minimal soreness at the injection site, which will quickly dissipate.
Schedule an Appointment
To learn more about dental Botox treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Chern at New York General Dentistry. Call our Midtown East Manhattan dentists office at (212) 838-0842 or request an appointment online by requesting an appointment through our online scheduling system.
By Dr. Inna Chern