8 Reasons To Use Botox Dentistry  

8 Reasons To Use Botox Dentistry  

 Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH
Medical Reviewed on Oct 18, 2023
byDr. Matthew Hannan DDS
🔬 Evidence Based
8 Reasons To Use Botox Dentistry  

Did you know that dentists can use Botox in their offices? Botox dentistry has a variety of different uses, ranging from cosmetic treatments to therapeutic purposes. In most cases, dentists who offer Botox will be required to have some additional training and certifications before they start to provide in their practice. Depending on the type of dentist you see and where you live, your dental team may offer this as an elective service in addition to the traditional therapies they already provide. You might be surprised to learn that going to the dentist may be one of the best places to visit if you’re considering Botox treatments. 

What is Botox Dentistry? 

Botox dentistry usually falls into one of two categories: cosmetic or therapeutic. Dentists can take specialized classes to become certified providers and utilize this prescription drug in their practice. 

When you think about it, dentists are some of the best healthcare providers to see if you want Botox. After all, they’re specialists when it comes to facial and head and neck anatomy! Dentists’ intense understanding of facial muscles, soft tissues, and joint motions makes them an excellent resource when you want someone who truly understands the dental treatment points where Botox is being administered. 

While some types of treatments use permanent surgery or removable prosthetics, Botox dentistry uses injectable medications to offer long periods of relief without invasive procedures. Most people who get Botox treatments around their mouth or face can experience results for up to six months at a time without any oral and maxillofacial surgery or plastic surgery. The more often you have your Botox updated, the longer the results tend to last between treatments. 

Scientifically speaking, Botox dental treatments uses botulinum toxin that’s delivered through small injectable sites at specific points in your facial muscles. This drug is a natural muscle relaxant, providing smoother and more relaxed muscle tone wherever it’s applied. That’s why it’s used to reduce muscle tension in addition to facial wrinkles.

Is Botox Safe?

Botox therapy is absolutely 100% safe! The key is to see a trusted healthcare provider who is trained in administering Botox. Like any other medication or injectable cosmetic product, Botox needs to be applied as directed if you want to see certain types of results. All of that being said, injectable medications—including the local anesthetic your dentist uses during fillings—do come with some risks. Your provider will review risk factors and side effects you’ll want to consider before your injectable treatment, such as swelling, bruising, or possible headaches. 

Since it was first introduced in the late 1980s, it’s estimated that somewhere around three million Botox injections are given every year.

8 Botox Treatments For Dental Patients 

What can Botox be used for? More than just wrinkles! As a natural muscle relaxer, botulinum toxin is a great alternative to prescription medications that might interfere with your everyday activities or the need for surgical intervention. Here are just some of the reasons dentists and other healthcare providers may recommend Botox to a dental patient: 

1. TMJ Disorder (TMJD/TMD)

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can cause pain and discomfort in your jaw muscles, face, and neck. You might notice frequent headaches or joint stiffness, among other symptoms. Botox can be an effective option for reducing the symptoms of TMJ disorder since it relaxes the muscles that are responsible for the pain, which can help reduce inflammation and relieve pressure. This Botox treatment is one of the most common techniques you’ll find in dental offices. 

2. Preventing Dental Grinding And Clenching

Teeth clenching and grinding, also known as bruxism, can be a painful and uncomfortable condition that can cause headaches, jaw pain, and tooth damage. While there are various treatments available, Botox can be an effective option for reducing the severity of bruxism. Botox works by relaxing the muscles that are responsible for clenching and grinding, which can help reduce the force that's applied to the teeth and jaw. This can lead to a reduction in pain, as well as protect the teeth from damage caused by grinding. The effects of Botox can last for several months, providing relief for those who suffer from bruxism. However, it's important to note that Botox is not a permanent solution, and additional treatments may be needed, such as a bite splint, an adjustment to the way your teeth bite together, or other anxiety management resources. 

3. Improving Speech And Swallowing Difficulties

Botox can be used to treat conditions such as spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder that affects the muscles of the vocal cords, or dystonia, a movement disorder that can affect the muscles used for swallowing. This condition makes it difficult for people to speak or even be understood. When injected into the affected muscles, Botox can temporarily paralyze them, which can help reduce the spasms and involuntary movements that can cause speech or swallowing difficulties. The effects of Botox can last for several months, which means that it can provide relief for an extended period of time. However, it's important to note that Botox is not a permanent solution, and additional treatments may be needed, such as physical therapy, professional counseling (for anxiety-induced symptoms,) or other resources. 

4. Facial Swelling and Excess Sweating

One of the most unique uses for Botox is how it can be used to help treat hyperactive sweat glands. Excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, can be a frustrating and embarrassing condition and can occur in various parts of the body. While sweating is a normal bodily function that helps regulate temperature, excessive sweating can interfere with daily activities and cause discomfort. Luckily, Botox injections can be an effective treatment option for hyperhidrosis. Botox works by blocking the nerve signals that trigger sweat production, leading to a significant reduction in sweating.

5. Improving Facial Symmetry 

Symmetry is a key element in facial and dental aesthetics. Sometimes one little area being “off” can throw off your entire smile. With a botulinum toxin treatment, your dentist can help to relax muscle tension that may be causing your smile symmetry to be off, helping you achieve better overall results without any surgical measures. Such as one side of your smile pulling up higher than the other or an uneven lip line. That way, you can try a minimally invasive technique before committing to something more permanent. 

6. Managing Gummy Smiles Or High Lip Lines 

When you smile, do you have a lot of gum tissue that’s visible? Does it make your teeth look short or give you what people call a “gummy” smile? You’re in luck! Botox is a quick and easy way to address this issue. When your dentist applies Botox just under your upper lip, it can reduce the tension in the muscles responsible for retracting it whenever you smile. That way, your lip line lays lower down over your gums, closer to your teeth. Sometimes this treatment is also performed in conjunction with gingival recontouring for more dramatic results. 

7. Adjusting to New Dentures

Wearing a new, full denture takes a lot of adjustment. Chances are that your lips and tongue will constantly be rubbing and feeling the prosthesis as you get used to the “plate” inside your mouth. Even your lips may have a hard time trying to figure out how to lay against the new denture or speak with it. Botox can sometimes help ease the adjustment period since the learning curve often takes several weeks for most patients. 

8. Edentulous Patients

Being completely edentulous means that you no longer have any remaining natural teeth. It’s fairly common for edentulous dental patients to have a hard time trying to figure out muscle movements and position in their lips because of the past support provided by their teeth. The longer they go without teeth, the more they’ll start to notice atypical muscle control and positioning. Some dentists will use Botox to help their edentulous patients readjust to proper oral function, particularly after restoring their missing teeth.  

Why Do We See the Use of Botox in Dentistry?

Until recently, Botox was only available in practices like dermatology offices, medical offices, and sometimes oral surgery clinics. But because of dentists’ familiarity with oral and facial structures, it’s only natural that they have also become key providers for administering cosmetic and therapeutic injectables like Botox. Especially given how effective Botox is for specific dental issues like TMJ disorder, gummy smiles, and frown lines around the mouth. 

Since non-surgical and minimally invasive therapies are always preferred over surgical intervention, Botox allows dentists to better accommodate the unique functional needs of their patients. Electing to treat something with Botox provides dental patients with a middle-ground option between doing nothing and electing to have a more invasive surgery performed. It’s no wonder why this elective injectable medication has become so popular in the oral health industry!

It’s not just the US where dentists use Botox. Dental providers in other countries, such as Australia and Canada, do as well.

If your dentist is trained in Botox, they may recommend administering the drug in conjunction with other restorative or rehabilitative procedures. That way, you can get the best short and long-term results for your unique case. 

Not All Dentists Use Botox (You Need To Find A Botox Trained Dentist)

If you want your dentist to give you a Botox treatment, hold tight. Not every dentist is legally allowed to provide Botox in their dental practice. Your dental provider will need to have the specific type of Botox training for that particular type of treatment before offering it to their patients. Such as Botox for wrinkles, migraines, or treating TMJ disorder. Even though they’re legally allowed to administer injectables and have an intense understanding of your oral and facial anatomy, there are specific techniques and dosing methods used depending on the specifics of your case. Dentists who complete the required training for those treatments can let you know whether or not Botox is an option. 

Talk With Your Doctor 

Bottom line: if you’re interested in getting Botox treatment or other cosmetic injectables at your dentist’s office, talk to them directly. Your dental provider may offer alternatives, already be trained in Botox, or have a local dental provider they can recommend. A great Botox dentist will talk through your concerns, help you pinpoint the best areas for treatment, talk to you about what you can expect from the process, and provide a comprehensive treatment plan. They’ll also be available to offer maintenance or touch-up treatments to help you prolong your results as needed. Always be sure to discuss your medical history and any allergies that you have, as Botox may be contraindicated for some dental patients. 

Is Dental Botox Treatment For You?

Getting Botox for headaches, TMJ disorder, or creases in your skin may be as easy as calling up your local dentist’s office. Botox offers long-lasting results, with only one or two touch-ups needed a year in most cases. However, not all dentists are trained to provide Botox or other cosmetic injectables in their office (such as facial fillers.) To find out if you qualify for Botox or if it’s available in your area, call your oral health provider directly. If they don’t offer it, chances are, they probably have a colleague near you who does. 

 Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH"Teeth Talk Girl," is a registered dental hygienist. She started her dental health journey on YouTube, educating the public through videos.
Dr. Matthew  Hannan DDS
Medical Reviewed byDr. Matthew Hannan DDSDr. Matthew Hannan is a board-certified dentist and graduate of UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry.
Last updated onOctober 18, 2023Here is our process

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