Approximately 7% to 8% of the dentists that are located in North America are currently providing Botox cosmetic treatments to patients.
There are also other innovative uses being found for Botox in dentistry. Most dentists are not aware of the considerable benefits that Botox has in therapy for cosmetic and dental treatment.
Botox has useful clinical uses as an adjunct in bruxism and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) cases, even more so for patients with chronic facial and TMJ facial pain.
When Botox is typically given in half the amount that is normally used for a smoothing treatment for facial wrinkles, it can greatly decrease the strength of the muscle contractions that contribute significantly to facial and TMJ pain and provide dental patient significant pain relief.
When all TMJ patients that have gotten the bruxism appliances, full mouth reconstructions can be done, while most dentists are at their wits end in trying to determine what can be done to help the patient with their facial pain. Treatment with Botox can have a vital role in eliminating or reducing the patient’s facial pain.
Botox is frequently used with other dental therapy as a nonsurgical alternative to high lip line cases. The treatment that most dentists have been trained to deliver to these patients would be some kind of periodontal flap surgery.
A dental surgery of this type would include considerable osseous reduction through a crown lengthening procedure in order to be able to raise the gingival height to meet the lip line. Dental patient would then require bridge and crown therapy in order to better establish the dental aesthetics.
All dentists know how aggressive treatment like this would be. There are very few dentists who, if they were the patient, would want to proceed with that kind of aggressive treatment, yet this is what many offer to their patients.
With some lip augmentation and Botox therapy, the muscles that surround the lip are weakened, and therefore they can’t raise their lip as high as before. A procedure such as this must be done very carefully so that the patient maintains their full lip competency which allows them to perform their regular activities such as eating, puckering, smiling, and speaking.
When done properly, the patient is not able to raise her lip as high as before to show the gingiva on the left side, but will still have the full ability to kiss, chew, and speak.
It is important to be able to offer all of the alternatives to the dental patient for high lip line cases. The advantages of the aggressive treatment options of bridge and crown therapy, possible orthodontics, and crown lengthening are that the results will be long lasting and can be aesthetic.
The disadvantages are that the treatment will take a number of appointments, high immediate cost (price of Botox), possible complications of said treatment, including necessary retreatment in as few as 10 years, and sensitivity, which may require endodontic therapy later on.
The advantages of treating dental cases like the one above with Botox and dermal fillers are the nearly immediate results in one appointment without the removal of any tooth structures.
The disadvantages include the re-treatment which is necessary 2 to 3 times a year and the cost associated with that repeated treatment. Botox significantly expands the dental treatment choices that we now have, but has adversaries as well.