Botox and dermal fillers are very popular cosmetic treatments known for their great ability in diminishing the signs of aging in the skin. Botox works by relaxing the facial muscles, while dermal fillers restore lost volume in the face, especially in areas around the mouth. But aside from eliminating those fine lines and wrinkles, did you know that these two beauty treatments have also found their way in cosmetic dentistry?
Today, dentists can use them not only for esthetic purposes, but for functional purposes as well. In fact, they can help solve some of the most difficult and frustrating clinical situations dentists confront.
Can’t believe it? Well, here are a few examples of oral health issues that can be addressed by using Botox and dermal fillers.
TMJ Disorders and Facial Pain:
According to most dentists, these two are by far among the most challenging cases to deal with. More than 80% of cases are muscle-related, while the remaining is related to the teeth and occlusion.
Using Botox injections helps your dentist identify any muscle-related problems first and determine how much of it a factor is. After that, he or she can now proceed on treating the teeth- and occlusion-related problems easier and more accurately than ever before.
Bruxism and Clenching:
Botox injections have also shown promise in alleviating the symptoms of bruxism. The earliest study on the use of Botox for such purpose was done in a brain-injured patient with severe bruxism. The injection was given to paralyze the temporalis and masseter muscles. These two are the muscles on your temple and cheeks areas, respectively.
Botox have the same application in clenching, as most chronic cases are characterized by a hyperactive masseter, causing this muscle to increase in size. This increased size makes the jaw appear swollen and misshapen. Botox injections decrease the hyperactivity of the masseter, and subsequently its size.
Gummy smile pertains to the excessive display of gum tissue upon smiling. It is mostly an esthetic issue that is attributable to the over-contraction of the muscles that make up the upper lip. The proposed treatment before was surgery. Today, Botox injections can be given in small doses to limit the contraction of the upper lip.
These so-called “black triangles” are the two big black holes on each side of the teeth that often result from periodontal treatment, implant therapy, and restoration with crowns and bridges. It occurs when the interdental papilla, or gum tissue below the contact points of teeth, are not preserved.
For most patients, it is a major esthetic concern that causes them to feel embarrassed about their smile. But esthetics aside there may also be some functional problems like the accumulation of food debris and the patient spitting through these holes when speaking.
Luckily, your dentist may now use dermal fillers to plump up the papilla, fill up the holes, and create proper gum contours. The effects last for about eight months, after which it may have to be redone again. Although temporary, patients are often very satisfied with the results.
Dermal fillers can restore volume to the various areas around the mouth, such as the lips, nasolabial folds, and the so-called marionette lines. They work by literally filling out all those static folds in the face brought about by decreased amounts of collagen and fat.
Botox can also be used to prevent orthodontic relapse in patient’s overactive mentalis muscle. Mentalis is the main muscle that makes up the chin. As with the temporalis and masseter muscle, Botox injections also work to decrease the activity of this muscle and retrain it into more physiologic movement.
While both Botox and dermal fillers are only temporary solutions that will have to be redone over time, the results they produce are nonetheless very satisfying for most patients.