Botox is the trade name for botulinum toxin, which comes in the form of a purified protein. The mechanism of action for Botox is really quite simple. Although Botox is injected into the facial muscles, it really doesn’t affect the muscle at all. Botulinum toxin affects and blocks the transmitters between the motor nerves that control the muscle. The nerves that are responsible for the sensation of touch and feeling are not affected. Once the motor nerve endings are prevented from sending impulses to the muscles, they cannot contract: when this occurs, the dynamic, chronic motion that causes wrinkles in the skin stops. The skin then begins to smooth out and after three to 10 days, the skin above those muscles begins to lose the deep furrows and starts to smooth out. These effects of Botox can last three to six months, at which time the patient needs retreatment.
Botox is commonly used for smoothing wrinkles on the forehead between the eyes (glabellar region), around the corners of the eyes and around the lips. Botox has important clinical uses as an aid in treating TMJ symptoms (jaw joint pain) and bruxism (tooth grinding) situations as well as patients with chronic TMJ and facial pain. At Forum Dental Group, Botox is also used to complement aesthetic dentistry cases, as a minimally invasive alternative to surgically treating high lip line cases, where there is too much display of gums (the teeth are the picture and the lips are the frame) and in denture patients who have trouble adjusting to a new appliance. It also has uses in orthodontic cases where retraining the facial muscles is necessary. Ask us what famous actress uses Botox to prevent an otherwise gummy smile.
BOTOX® Cosmetic is used to slim the face: Some patients have very active jaw muscles that give their face a very square shape. These are called the masseter muscles and are the main muscles used for chewing and biting. Injecting BOTOX® Cosmetic in these muscles can reduce their size and give a square face a much more tapered or oval appearance, creating a softer appearance. Many patients who grind their teeth see an increase in the size of the masseter (chewing) muscle and experience head and neck pain, headaches, tenderness and TMJ problems. Injections here cause the muscle to have less intensity in closing and consequently there is a decrease in the symptoms of clenching.
Dr. LaMarche uses BOTOX® Cosmetic to assist in the treatment of TMJ, tooth grinding and facial pain. Weight lifters and body builders may also over develop this muscle and may seek cosmetic slimming of their face with BOTOX® Cosmetic.
BOTOX® can also be injected in the muscles that turn down the corner of the mouth. By weakening these muscles it is possible to turn up the corner of the mouth. Dr. LaMarche uses this technique with filler injections for lip enhancement and wrinkles.