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How We Use Botox® in Dental Therapy

 How We Use Botox® in Dental Therapy

Facial pain can be a real problem when it begins to affect your everyday life. A number of conditions can lead to this type of pain, including temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ). Facial pain can sometimes be hard to deal with — and treat. However, Botox® injections are a revolutionary way to help you finally get some relief from the pain.

At The Snoring & Sleep Apnea Center, located in Seattle, Washington, we’re ready to help you tackle your facial pain one step at a time. Leading our team is Dr. Katharine Christian, who specializes in dentistry and sleep medicine. Dr. Christian offers many different treatments, including Botox, to help you conquer your facial pain.

How does Botox work?

Botox is a drug derived from the same bacteria that causes a serious type of food poisoning known as botulism. However, when concentrated in small amounts, this toxin effectively treats a number of different cosmetic and medical issues.

While Botox is most commonly recognized as a cosmetic treatment, it goes far beyond just that. This treatment can help with a number of issues throughout your body, including migraines, an overactive bladder, and facial pain due to TMJ. 

How exactly does it do that? Botox works on the muscles and nerves in the area that’s being treated. When a tiny amount of the toxin is injected into your body, it either temporarily paralyzes or weakens the muscles or nerves in that area. It also helps to interrupt pain signals from those nerves.

The effects of Botox injections can last anywhere from three months to a year. This depends on the area you’re having treated and how your body metabolizes the medication. 

Botox and dental therapy

When you think of Botox injections, your mind may immediately go to cosmetic uses like diminishing wrinkles and frown lines. Dr. Christian uses Botox to address several problems that cause pain in your face and head. If you’re suffering from any of the following, Botox injections could be the answer for you.

TMJ disorders

Your jaw pain could be due to a problem with your temporomandibular joint, in the area where your jaw meets your skull. The joint allows your jaw to move, and it’s essential for chewing and talking. 

TMJ disorders happen when the joint becomes damaged or is out of place. This can be due to jaw clenching or an injury. Botox can treat the pain related to TMJ disorder by relaxing the jaw muscles and getting rid of tension.

Bruxism

This condition is also known as teeth grinding or clenching. It’s very common and can lead to dental pain and wear-and-tear on your teeth. Dr. Christian uses Botox injections to relax the muscles in your face and your jaw to ease the symptoms of bruxism. 

Masseter hypertrophy

Your masseter muscle is an essential muscle that’s used for chewing your food. However, if you overuse it by grinding your teeth or chewing gum a lot, the muscle can become enlarged.

Masseter hypertrophy usually only affects one side of your jaw. Botox helps the muscle relax, which allows it to return to its normal size and recreates a smooth jawline.

What to expect from a Botox injection

The Botox injections Dr. Christian performs in dental therapy generally aren't painful. She numbs the area with a local anesthetic first and then injects the toxin into the areas where you’re having trouble. The number of injections you need depends on the severity of your condition.

The injections are relatively quick, and you can get back to your normal activities as soon as you’re done. You should avoid rubbing the area so as to keep the toxin from spreading to other muscles and tissues.

Patients generally begin to notice results within three days after getting Botox. In some cases, it could be up to a week to get relief from your condition. 

Botox is safe and effective, but side effects are possible, so it’s important to discuss these with Dr. Christian before undergoing treatment. The most frequent side effects are bruising at the site and swelling. However, these often go away within a few hours to a couple of days after your treatment.

If you’d like to learn more about how Dr. Christian can address your facial pain with Botox, don’t hesitate to call our office at 206-905-6998. You can also request an appointment using our online booking tool.

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