Your Top 4 Questions About Dental Botox and Its Applications
1. What is dental Botox and how does it work?
Otherwise known as Botox, botulinum toxin A was introduced to the market for cosmetic use. It is minimally invasive and is used to treat not only cosmetic imperfections such as fine lines and wrinkles but also muscle spasms and tension headaches.
Botox is paralytic. When injected into the muscle, it blocks the release of acetylcholine, preventing the muscle from receiving signals to contract. This causes either relaxation or temporary paralysis of the muscle depending on the dosage and specific application.
2. How is it useful in the dental setting?
Botox does not simply have cosmetic benefits. Muscle spasms in dentistry are a common occurrence, tend to be extremely uncomfortable, and often complicate and interfere with other diagnoses. It can be very confusing to the patient who assumes that he or she has multiple toothaches. When a muscle is constantly contracted, it shortens and tightens and begins to spasm. This can impair the full range of opening of the mouth, and the patient experiences pain and discomfort.
By injecting Botox into the facial muscles that cause muscle spasms, it shuts down these muscles and keeps them from contracting. It allows the clenched muscles to relax and for the patient to stretch them out, thus reducing pain and restoring full range of opening to the mouth.
3. Does dental Botox help relieve migraines and tension headaches?
Patients often confuse migraines with tension headaches, and the research is not definitive on the effectiveness of dental Botox for migraines; however, there is evidence to support its efficacy in alleviating tension headaches. By injecting it into the forehead, temples, and lower back of the head, patients receive about three months’ worth of effective relief from these debilitating headaches while in turn reducing their frequency.
It is important to understand that the more frequent the injections, the less is needed to receive the desired result. Therefore, it is encouraged that patients adhere to recommended follow-up visits because the more that patients stay on schedule, the less Botox is necessary per visit.
4. Why should Botox be administered by a dentist?
Dentists are uniquely qualified to administer Botox treatment due to their familiarity with facial muscle anatomy and how it relates to form and function on a patient. In addition to countless hours of dissection of cadavers, dentists need to be able to identify a true muscle spasm vs. tension headache in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
Because dental Botox targets the muscles that contribute to tension headaches, it can also be used as a diagnostic tool to see if the pain that a patient is experiencing is a true dental problem. Botox treats in the short term and is not a long-term solution; however, the long-term goal is to be able to accurately assess and treat dental vs. skeletal issues.
Find relief from chronic headaches.
If you are experiencing frequent headaches and are interested in how Botox treatment can help relieve your chronic discomfort, contact us today at King Dental to schedule an evaluation.
Written by Dr. Christopher King
Dr. King has been leading King Dental since 2000. In the 20-plus years since opening King Dental, his experiences have only strengthened his excitement for his chosen career. Dentistry is Dr. King’s life’s mission.