When Botox first came on the scene, many people rushed to get these small injections to help them fight the signs of aging such as wrinkles or sagging skin. While Botox is still used frequently for cosmetic reasons, did you know that there are many medical reasons that doctors can use Botox to treat patients? From excessive sweating to muscle spasms, Botox has found its way into usefulness across the medical spectrum. In recent years, dentists have started incorporating Botox into their treatment plans for their patients, with many people seeing great benefits! If you’re curious to learn more about Botox and how it may help your oral needs, read on to get the skinny on this routine injection.
First Things First: What Is Botox?
A household name at this point, many of us still don’t fully understand what Botox even is or how it works. Botox is derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, the same bacterium that causes the dangerous foodborne illness botulism. While this may seem scary, there are many drugs derived from this bacterium that are safely used in many aspects of medicine! Scientists take the active, therapeutic neurotoxin from the bacterium and purify it in a lab to make it safe for patient use before crafting it into the injection we know as Botox.
What Exactly Does It Do?
Botox works by attaching to the nerve endings in a muscle. When injected into muscle, it will work over the course of the next hours and days to block reception of nerve signals to those muscles, helping them to relax and unclench. The beauty of Botox is that it only attaches to the neurons responsible for movement (motor neurons) but not those responsible for feeling (sensory neurons), so it does not inhibit one’s ability to feel pain, temperature, or touch. Botox is not permanent and will last for a period of about 100 days, give or take a few weeks. After this time, your neurons will regain their ability to receive signals. Botox can be readministered when the effects wear off, if a patient desires.
How Can It Be Used In Dentistry?
Dentists have recently started using Botox to treat some muscle related jaw issues in patients, such as clenching, temporomandibular disorder, trismus, and the afflictions associated with these conditions like headaches and muscle soreness. Because Botox helps muscles to relax, problems such as jaw clenching can see almost immediate relief upon receiving injections. While Botox can help alleviate some of the symptoms of various dental issues, it is not a treatment plan in and of itself and will not necessarily fix the cause of your problem. Your dentist can incorporate Botox injections alongside other treatment options designed specifically for you and your needs.
If you think that Botox injections could help relieve some of your oral health issues, reach out to your dentist to get some of your questions answered!
To schedule a consultation, or simply to schedule a routine checkup, give us a call at Sunrise Dental Care in Geneva today!