Botox in Dentistry
Amazingly enough, Botox has found its way into dentistry.
What is Botox?
Botox is the brand name of the Botulinum toxin produced by a bacterium, clostridium botulinum. Clostridium botulinum is also the bacterium that causes botulism, a potentially fatal disease which is toxic to the nervous system.
Though a bacterium, it has been used regularly to iron out wrinkles in the field of dermatology.
One area of reportedly effective botox treatment is for individuals suffering from bruxism. These people grind their teeth so hard that they are in chronic pain. For some, selective injection of Botox into the chewing muscles provides great relief.
Another useful area for Botox treatment is in cosmetic denistry. For example, some people, after having crowns or implants performed on their teeth will develop a “black triangle” which is a space at the gumline between crowns where gum tissue which is normally present is now absent, leaving a black triangle. In the past, it could take multiple surgeries to build up that gum tissue to finally develop a cosmetic outcome. Botox injections can remedy this quickly and easily. The only downside is that it will most likely need to be done every so often (like 6-9 months) It still can be an easier solution!
Cosmetic procedures where the muscles need to relax to achieve a cosmetic result are candidates for botox. This could be the corner of the mouth, for example, which develops wrinkles as one ages. People who show a lot of gum when smiling can have their upper lip conservatively treated to cover more of the gum, giving a less gummy smile. My guess is that the uses for Botox have yet to be exhausted.
There is some controversy in using live bacteria in dentistry. However, dentists are well trained on giving injections, and we are used to working around the head and neck. So with a little additional training those dentists wanting to expand the procedures they offer, well, this is a good area to consider. Of course the practitioner is handling a product which can have fatal consequences (botulism) if mishandled. So, caution is paramount.