The application of dental Botox® for the treatment of oral health issues is becoming popular in different fields of dentistry. Cosmetic dentists use dental Botox® to correct a gummy smile or to minimize the look of wrinkles around the mouth. On the flip side, general dentists use Botox® to treat disorders like teeth grinding and…
4 Facts About Therapeutic Dental Botox®
As surprising as it may be, dental Botox® is regularly used in dentistry for both cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. Dentists often incorporate dental Botox® into large treatment plans that target multiple things. Additionally, therapeutic dental Botox® can be used as a standalone treatment.
Dental Botox®: The basics
Botox® is a substance that derives from a toxin produced by the bacteria that causes botulism. The toxin causes paralysis that left unchecked, can spread through the body to cause death.
It is the paralytic nature of this toxin that makes Botox® useful for cosmetic and therapeutic dental applications.
1. Dental Botox works by inhibiting muscle contraction
Muscle contraction is great when it is necessary or voluntary. However, not so much when it starts to cause pain, as is the case with jaw clenching and another result, teeth grinding. Thankfully, therapeutic dental Botox® can be of help. Being a neurotoxin, small doses of dental Botox® will deactivate a specific nerve or nerve bundle. This, in turn, deactivates the muscle or muscles that the nerve(s) controls.
2. Dental Botox® is the perfect treatment for several jaw disorders
Nerves do more than just control motor function. They also transmit pain. When dentists use therapeutic dental Botox® to deactivate a particular nerve, they use it to stop muscle contraction and pain.
This is the logic behind the use of dental Botox® to treat jaw problems like:
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)
- Teeth grinding and jaw clenching that can result from TMJ or a bad bite
- Spasms in the muscles around the jaw
In all these scenarios, dental Botox® keeps the jaw muscles from clenching. It also takes care of any facial pain caused by the jaw disorder. Dentists may use dental Botox® as a standalone therapeutic treatment for jaw problems or they may add it to a larger treatment plan.
3. Dentists use it to enhance the healing process after oral/jaw surgery
The paralytic nature of Botox® makes it a perfect pharmaceutical splint. This means that dental Botox® can keep a particular area of the mouth from moving, just like a splint immobilizes a finger or a leg.
Dental implant surgery is a great example. Once an implant is placed in the jaw, it should remain immobilized to allow the bone to heal around the rod. Dentists can use dental Botox® to immobilize the implant site. They may choose this option if their patient has a loaded implant and/or to improve the chances of implant success.
By the same logic, oral surgeons can use therapeutic dental Botox® as a splint after jaw surgery. It becomes part of the treatment plan that minimizes setbacks during the healing process.
4. It is not for everybody
So far, therapeutic dental Botox® sounds great, but not all people are good candidates for the treatment. A dentist will recommend alternatives to patients that fall into one of the following categories:
- People with allergies to any one of the components of Botox®
- Patients who want a permanent fix that lasts more than a couple of months
- People on medication like penicillin, calcium blockers or quinine, who will suffer a bad reaction
- Pregnant or lactating women
Learn more about therapeutic dental Botox®
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