While filling cavities and performing crown restorations are a big part of my day, more patients continue to ask for aesthetic improvements to their smiles. I love this part of my work because I can combine the science of dentistry with the art of design.
Whether improving a patient’s current smile or designing a new smile, my goal is to achieve the most natural appearance possible. For some patients, I find that Botox is an excellent complement at the final stage of a smile transformation.
Since it was first approved by the FDA in 1989 for medical therapy and in 2002 for cosmetic therapy, Botox has become the most widely researched and studied treatment of its kind. I rely on its safe, easy and quick effectiveness in delivering amazing results to my patients.
As a dentist, I have years of extensive training on the nearly 20 muscles that work together to form facial expressions like smiles, raised eyebrows and pouts.
I get to know my patients’ expressions extremely well from our interactions during routine check-ups, which bring us literally face-to-face. This helps me administer Botox in the best places and yield the most natural results.
In addition to being experts in the head and neck region, dentists are taught to achieve balance and symmetry in everything we do, whether it’s a simple filling or full mouth rehabilitation. We focus on the smile in relation to our patient’s face, not just the teeth within their mouth.
I also use Botox as a medical therapy to treat patients experiencing teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism. Pressure from bruxism can cause gum recession and headaches and can increase tooth pain or sensitivity. Bruxism can also lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which cause tension headaches, neck and shoulder pain, tired or tight jaw muscles that cannot open or close the mouth completely, among other issues.
Depending on where a patient’s pain originates, I inject Botox into the masseter muscle, which is responsible for chewing, or into the TMJ directly. In the same way it relaxes facial muscles to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, the Botox injection releases the muscles and reduces tension.
Most patients experience little discomfort during the procedure and are so thankful for the much-needed relief. Results are expected one to three days after injection but can take up to two weeks and can last 90 to 120 days.
Whether for cosmetic enhancements or medical therapy, I invite you to talk to your dentist during your next routine check up to see if Botox is right for you.
Jordan Haire, DMD is a dentist in practice with ROC Dental Group on Hilton Head Island.