Botox: Extending The Scope In Dentistry

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Bacterium Clostridium is processed and purified to obtain botulinum toxin or Botox (drug brand). There is a common misconception that it is used mostly for cosmetic (management of facial wrinkles) treatments. Medical professionals from around the world use the same to treat headaches, Trismus (lockjaw), TMJ disorders, muscle stiffness, overactive bladder, migraine, and parafunctional clenching. These days, the drug is also a part of several dental treatments.

Botox in Dentistry

Can a dentist administer Botox? What are the uses of Botox for dentists? Yes, dental care experts who have proper training and experience can provide effective, safe Botox dental treatment. Depending on the state regulations, dental offices use Botox as an element of a comprehensive treatment plan.

From treating TMJ disorders, jaw pain, teeth grinding, and facial wrinkles to managing misaligned teeth, dentists use botulinum toxin to handle several issues.

Botox for Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is also referred to by its scientific name, bruxism. The medical condition affects children as well as adults. The patient grinds their teeth while sleeping. Grinding causes extensive damage to teeth along with jaw pain, headaches, and even TMJ disorders.

Missing or damaged teeth, side effects of medications, an abnormal bite, anxiety, and stress can trigger this medical condition in adults. When it comes to children, even allergies, ear infections, and discomfort from colds can result in the same. Scientists believe that brain signals cause involuntary contraction of jaw muscles resulting in grinding. Surprisingly, millions of Americans suffer from teeth grinding.

It’s of common knowledge that botulinum toxin can control muscle contraction. Thus, the drug can directly tackle the cause of bruxism. It can control clenching and teeth grinding, and reduce jaw tension when injected into the masseter muscle. The dosage and number of injections may vary from one patient to the other. The injection’s benefits can last for anytime between three to six months.

Botox for Bruxism

A study was conducted to understand the efficacy and safety offered by ‘onabotulinum toxin A’ injections. The journal Neurology published its findings in February 2018. The results pointed out that botulinum toxin injections can help in improving symptoms and reducing bruxism-related pain.

One of the researchers, Dr. William G. Ondo, said the results were encouraging as there’s no other established treatment for bruxism. Tried and tested intervention objects like a mouthguard can reduce the damage, but cannot treat the cause behind bruxism. Several patients dislike using removable prosthodontics while sleeping. For such individuals, botulinum toxin can do the trick.

Botox in Jaw Muscle

The jaw consists of Pterygoid, Masseter, and Temporalis muscles that play an important role in speaking, chewing, and of course, grinding the teeth. Perhaps, the joints that play a crucial role in the functioning of the jaw are the temporomandibular joints that affix the upper and lower jaw with the skull.

Dental problems, joint-related medical conditions, trauma, stress, and TMJ disorders can cause pain in jaw muscles.

Making changes in eating, drinking habits, and performing jaw exercises can help in managing non-serious pain. However, in case of problems in muscles or dental issues, the simple home remedies or conservative options may not help and the doctor would suggest other alternatives after a detailed check-up.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, ultrasound treatment, acupuncture, and botulinum toxin injection are the options to treat acute pain in the jaw.

Botox Injection for TMJ

Simply put, the temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects the upper and lower jaw. Problems in this joint or its muscles are referred to as TMJ disorder.

The commonly observed symptoms of this disorder are tenderness of the jaw muscles, pain along with clicking sound while opening or closing the mouth, earaches, and migraines like headaches.

Both, medical and dental health care professionals can offer treatment for TMJ disorders.

Besides acupuncture, massage, chiropractic therapy, neuromuscular therapy, and the use of muscle relaxants, health care professionals also recommend narcotic or non-narcotic medications, anti-inflammatory medicines, as well as antidepressants. However, Botox injections remain to be the most preferred and recommended option these days.

The control over the intensity of the muscle contraction achieved with injections helps in relieving pain. Plus, it helps in restoring cramped muscles as well.

The neurotoxin can slowly train muscles to control the grinding habit. The doses need to be administered under a dental professional’s supervision after a proper diagnosis of the medical condition that the patient suffers. The benefits offered by these injections can last for around three to five months.

Studies have pointed out that 90 percent of the patients who get treated with Botox injections for TMJ are those individuals who fail to get results from traditional methods. But, after botulinum toxin treatment, they could report relief from facial muscles and headaches.

Depending on the reason behind the pain, the injections can be applied to the pterygoid muscle, depressor anguli oris muscle, procerus, corrugator, frontalis, mentalis, orbicularis oculi, procerus, temporalis, and the masseter muscle as well.

Is Botox Safe? Is There Any Research Work to Prove the Same?

Dentists have been recommending Botox to relax jaw muscles for several years now. But its effectiveness got a kind of certification only after positive results for studies conducted in 2017 and later. According to the research work available on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website, the drug’s applications have considerably widened since its introduction in 1967.

Musicians, celebrities, politicians, and news anchors often choose botulinum toxin injections for aesthetic improvements. It improves facial appearance, as face bones look sculpted, and pronounced, due to the softening of the jaw muscles.

Northwestern University’s study conducted in 2018 highlighted that more than 1.5 million botulinum toxin injections were administered during the year 2017 in the US. Besides cosmetic reasons, people opted for these injections as a part of treatment for eye twitching, bladder dysfunction, chronic migraines, cervical dystonia, and lazy eye.

If you are looking for a trustworthy dental office with dentists who have several years of experience in offering Botox treatments in Roswell, GA, you should schedule an appointment at TruCare Dentistry.