Dentists perform many cosmetic procedures each year, from teeth whitening to veneers and enamel bonding to dental implants — all designed to help patients look and feel their best. What’s been missing from this equation, though, is how these bright new mouths look in a face that’s lined, wrinkled, and sagging.
That’s led many dentists to provide additional cosmetic services, including Botox® and dermal fillers, because they’ve come to recognize that restoring facial smoothness and volume can be just as important to appearance as the dental restorations themselves.
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, about 8% of dentists in North America now provide both Botox and dermal filler treatments for their patients, and the number is growing as state dental boards argue for dentists to be allowed to use these agents for cosmetic dentistry.
At the AAID annual meeting, Pankaj Singh, DDS remarked, “Dentists have as much training and knowledge in the oral and maxillofacial area as dermatologists and other providers, so they, with proper training, can be as proficient in administering these agents.”
At the dental office of Dr. Raul Molina, Jr., we’re proud to be able to offer our patients both Botox and dermal filler treatments to complement their other restorative dental work, as well as, in the case of Botox, to treat medical conditions, including temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), Bell’s palsy, and bruxism (tooth grinding). Here’s what you need to know.
Botox (onabotulinumtoxin A) derives from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which produces the deadly toxin that causes botulism (food poisoning). It was originally used therapeutically for eyelid muscle spasms until Botox Cosmetic was FDA approved in 2002. When used in small doses and administered by a professional, the preparation is safe and has relatively few side effects.
The drug is a neuromodulator, meaning that it affects nerve signals. Specifically, motor neurons release the chemical messenger acetylcholine where they meet muscle cells, causing the muscles to contract. Botox, however, interferes with acetylcholine’s release, preventing contractions and allowing the muscles to relax. That then allows the skin over the muscles to relax as well, smoothing out wrinkles and toning the skin.
Dr. Molina only injects enough Botox to quiet down the muscles’ activity, not completely paralyze them. This allows you to continue to make normal facial expressions instead of looking “frozen.” Treatment effects last for three to four months in your forehead and around your eyes, and about six months in your jaw, after which you can get another treatment.
Botox’s aesthetic uses include treatment for:
- Wrinkles around the mouth and on the forehead
- Droopy brows (nonsurgical brow lift)
- Neck bands
- Bulky jaws
- Gummy smile
Dermal filler agents such as Juvéderm® and Restylane® treat fat and collagen volume loss that comes with aging and causes static lines to develop. They contain synthetic versions of hyaluronic acid (HA), a naturally occurring volumizer that also decreases with age, and are injected below the skin.
Dermal fillers help:
- Smooth lines around the nose and mouth
- Restore volume to sunken cheeks and temples
- Plump up the lips
- Diminish vertical lip lines
- Improve symmetry of facial features
Medical uses for Botox
Although dermal fillers can help complement restorative dental work, Botox can also be used as a therapeutic treatment for a number of dental-related conditions. Some of these include:
- Temporomandibular joint disorders: Relaxes the muscles serving the joint
- Bruxism: Prevents muscles from clenching the teeth
- Mandibular spasm: Prevents spasms in the jaw muscles
- Dental implant and surgery: Allows implants to better fuse with jawbone
- Gummy smile: Prevents lip muscles from over contracting, exposing gums
- Bell’s palsy: Improves muscle weakness on side of face
Don’t let your beautiful dental work be compromised by facial sags and wrinkles. Botox and dermal fillers are viable options for a full-face makeover that will leave you proud to smile. To find out more about these procedures, contact. Dr. Molina’s Miami, Florida office at (305) 614-0211, or book your consultation online.