Dental Botox® has many purposes when used in dentistry. Some of these purposes are cosmetic, like the removal of smile lines and the correction of a gummy smile. However, other purposes focus on therapeutic treatments like pain management.
Want to know how dental Botox® can be used to manage and relieve pain; specifically facial pain? Read on to find out more!
Dental Botox® and pain relief
The active ingredient in Botox® is a toxin produced by the bacteria that causes botulism. This toxin is infamous for causing food poisoning that results in potentially lethal paralysis. At some point, an enterprising person thought to harness the paralytic nature of the botulism toxin for good.
Today the most widespread use of Botox® is for the (temporary) reduction of wrinkles. Being a paralytic, Botox® deactivates the muscles that form frown lines and other wrinkles.
By the same logic, dental Botox® can deactivate facial nerves that cause painful muscle contractions and those that transmit pain signals to the brain. This is the principle of pain relief with Botox®.
Facial pain and its causes
Most general dentists treat patients who suffer from facial pain. The most common reason for chronic facial pain is jaw clenching and teeth grinding, which are in turn caused by:
- A jaw disorder like TMJ
- A bad bite, or a misaligned jaw
- The lingering effect of an old jaw injury
In a small percentage of cases, chronic facial pain can result from facial spasms, sinus inflammation and injury. A dentist may refer such diagnoses to a physician.
How dental Botox® can help with facial pain
The first step to treating facial pain is for the patient to undergo an evaluation and diagnosis. This is the part where the dentist determines the cause of the patient’s pain. They will ask about the nature, frequency and duration of the person’s pain. The dentist will also palpate different spots on the patient’s face to find the trigger points that generate the pain. Lastly, the dentist will check the patient’s medical and dental records in search of an explanation for the pain.
Depending on the root cause of the pain the dentist will either refer the patient to a doctor or proceed with dental Botox treatment.
In the case of facial pain caused by jaw clenching or other jaw disorders, the dentist will inject small doses of dental Botox® to specific muscles. They will target and paralyze the facial muscles that set off the patient’s pain.
Dental Botox® and timing
It only takes a few minutes for the dentist to administer dental Botox® injections. It takes another day or two for the effects of the injection to kick in. The ‘longer-term’ effects of the treatment last for approximately three months.
Further treatments to tackle the root cause
A dentist that is good at their job will use dental Botox® for pain management, but only as a first step. Where possible, they will recommend a treatment plan to eliminate or manage the root cause of their patient’s facial pain.
Get started with dental Botox
Want to learn more about dental Botox for facial pain? Reach out today to get started.
Request an appointment here or call Dallas Laser Dentistry at 469 838 5292 for an appointment in our Dallas office.