The Dental Advantages of Botox

The Dental Advantages of Botox

Dr. Matt Artho

by Dr. Matt, practicing dentist and owner of Country Lakes Family Dental

Many of you who know me know prior to my dental profession, I spent time working as an engineer, and like most engineers, not only do I have a fantastically approachable personality, I’m also a stickler for following instructions to a tee. A recent example of employing this ability is when my wife mentioned she took two aspirin to relieve a headache, but without relief. I told her that she failed to follow the last part of the instructions that state: Keep away from children. Of course, in the medical world, children aside, there can be many causes to headaches and tension pain, as well as many ways to relieve this pain. One treatment I like to discuss as a relief for headache and TMJ pain that has made its way into dentistry is botulinum treatment popularly known as Botox®.

How the botulinum protein works is by inhibiting the movement of the treated muscle or muscles. This mechanism is most popularly used to decrease unwanted wrinkles, but it can also help relax certain facial, head, and neck muscles that cause tension resulting in headaches or TMJ pain. Of course, it is important to understand that the causes for headaches and TMJ discomfort are multifactorial and can result from various dysfunctions of your teeth, muscles, joints, and even neurological or psychological disorders. Consequently, treatments of these ailments are also multifactorial and botulinum treatment is just one type of treatment to help in the alleviation of these symptoms.

The process of using Botox® for this type of treatment is to allow certain facial, head and neck muscles to relax and prevent excess tension. Relaxing certain muscles of mastication can also help patients who clinch or grind their teeth or experience frequent lock jaw. The use of Botox® for dental treatment is undergoing research, but the widespread results are obvious. A simple Google image search of “masseter reduction by Botox®” will show its effectiveness.

Botox® effectiveness lasts around 3 months and may require multiple treatments to train muscles to relax. Of course, with all treatment it is important to get a proper diagnosis and find a dentist who is experienced with the care. It’s just another way your dentist can help you relax. Happy smiling!

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