Dentists and Botox
When it comes to dermal filler treatments, few products have achieved the immense popularity of Botox. It is by far the most widely known elective aesthetic treatment in the world. It is also commonly believed to be offered solely by medical doctors, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons. However, more and more dentists are making Botox a regular part of their elective treatment options. This is likely why approximately 10% of dentists have been trained in Botox procedures. Botox was originally pioneered by Dr. Howard Katz, a dentist.
A Quick Glance at Botox
Botox is short for botulinum toxin, which is a purified protein. Botox works by blocking the transmission from nerves to muscles, preventing the muscle from contracting without losing sensory feeling in the muscle itself. It is this muscle contraction that causes fine lines and wrinkles to form. Once stopped, the skin appears smoother. Within three to ten days of treatment, the skin above the treated muscles will appear smooth, with results lasting up to six months.
What Makes Dentists Qualified to Give Botox Treatments?
The dental industry lends itself well to Botox procedures, as dentists undergo rigorous training involving the various parts of the face. While dermatologists focus on the skin, dentists are thoroughly trained in regions specifically treated with dermal fillers, including the oral and perioral areas. The specialized training that is reserved for the dental industry is part of what makes dentists and Botox a natural fit.
Why Go to a Dentist for Botox?
There are many benefits to receiving Botox treatment from a dentist instead of a medical doctor or nurse. Dentists have a great understanding of proper facial proportions in zones where dermal fillers like Botox are injected. Dental anaesthetic agents, compared to topical anesthetics, may provide for a less painful procedure, and dentists are typically well trained in potential anaesthetic complications.
Additional benefits include the following:
- Proper ratios of lips to teeth
- Smile considerations when adding fillers
- Informed consideration of how the teeth and soft tissue around the mouth relate to one another
Therapeutic Uses for Botox in Maintaining Dental Health
Botox offers a number of therapeutic uses that are specifically within the realm of dentistry. Some of those uses include:
- Adjunctive therapy in cases of temporomandibular joint disorders and Bruxism
- Alternative to surgery in treating cases of high lip lines
- Retraining facial muscles after orthodontic treatment
- Inhibiting saliva production
- Hemifacial spasm relief
- Treatment of oromandibular dystonia
- Treatment of facial asymmetries
- Treatment of salivary fistulas
- Alternative treatment to gingivectomy
- Lengthening crowns and veneers
- Treatment of angular chelitis
- Treatment of pathological clenching
Is it Legal for Dentists to Administer Botox?
The laws vary greatly about who can administer products like Botox. Before dentists can offer dermal fillers as a treatment option, they must undergo special training. According to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulation Agency (MHRA), the agency that regulated Botox, this product may be administered by numerous medical healthcare professionals, including:
- Plastic surgeons
- Obstetrician gynecologists
- Physician assistants
- Doctors of internal medicine
- Dentists (?)
The reason that there is a question mark after dentists is because the laws regarding this vary on a state by state basis. Alaskan law, for example, states that dentists can only administer products like Botox if it is part of a dental treatment plan. They may not administer Botox as a standalone treatment. Depending on which state you live in, these rules may differ.
Is it Safe to Get Botox from a Dentist?
Like all medical professionals, dentists receive special training in aesthetics before administering Botox to patients. This training includes how to use the product for both dental and more typical purposes, such as smoothing out facial wrinkles.
Some patients are not able to receive dental Botox. Some of the contraindications include the following:
- Patients with allergies to any of the major ingredients in Botox
- Women that may be pregnant or are breastfeeding
General Side Effects
Some temporary side effects of Botox include:
- Dry mouth
- Discomfort or pain at the injection site
There is a wealth of information available that supports dentists administering Botox, and even more information that explains the use of Botox in dental procedures. As more dentists are becoming certified to administer Botox treatments to their patients, the assumption is that it will become far more mainstream in the near future.