Cosmetic Botox Treatment

You’ve probably heard about Botox as an anti-wrinkle treatment but the benefits of Botox go beyond cosmetic enhancement to provide remedies for multiple medical conditions.

You may also be surprised to discover that Botox injections as an aesthetic treatment can have beneficial side effects that combat mental health issues such as depression.

Botox injections block chemical signals from nerves that cause muscles to contract. Botox is purified botulinum toxin A, which means there's no risk of botulism food-poisoning, and it’s an effective, therapeutic protein with a good safety record.

Now a popular cosmetic treatment, Botox was originally used for medical purposes and continues to provide treatment for a wide range of ailments.

Medical Benefits of Botox Treatment

Botox injections for medical purposes were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1989.

As a muscle relaxant, Botox can treat various medical conditions, potentially reducing dependency on pain relief medication.

Medical applications of Botox include treatments for:

  • Eye twitching/squinting. In serious cases, eye twitching and/or squinting can be painful and impair vision as well as being annoying and a source of embarrassment. Botox can ease the muscle spasms and contractions around the eye that cause the problem.
  • Neck spasms. Medically known as cervical dystonia, neck spasms are caused by muscle contractions in the neck that cause your head to twist into a painful position.
  • Chronic headaches. Botox may help to reduce the frequency of bouts of migraines by relaxing muscles and blocking nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain.
  • Excessive underarm sweating (hyperhidrosis) – heavy and unpredictable sweating even when you’re not feeling hot or exerting yourself.
  • Lazy eye – the result of an imbalance in the muscles that control the positioning of the eye.

Botox may also be able to alleviate neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, which can pull limbs inward.

A further medical application of Botox is to treat jaw disorders caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.

Cosmetic Benefits of Botox Treatment

Time takes its toll on all of us, and the signs of getting older are most evident in our faces. Facial movements – smiling, frowning, squinting, and even eating – can result in wrinkles and fine lines over time.

These problems generally become noticeable when we’re in our 30s or even earlier, as skin gradually loses its firmness and elasticity, and the ensuing folds and creases become more noticeable as the aging process continues.

Botox provides a temporary solution in cases like this and can be repeated every few months. Botox can also be effective in reducing neck bands – vertical creases caused by muscle drooping.

An increasing number of people are turning to Botox cosmetic treatment as a minimally invasive alternative to plastic surgery.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), botulinum toxin injections are the most common nonsurgical cosmetic procedure.

Figures from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), show the number of nonsurgical aesthetic treatments rose by nearly 200 percent from 2000 to 2017. In 2017 itself, over seven million botulinum toxin type A treatments were performed in the States – a two percent increase in 2016.

Botox is routinely used to temporarily block nerve signals and relax the facial muscle contractions that result in problems such as:

  • Eyebrow furrows – folds of skin between the eyebrows.
  • Crow’s feet – wrinkles in the corner of the eye.
  • Frown lines – creases across the forehead.

Cosmetic Botox treatment may also provide a spin-off psychological benefit by boosting self-confidence.

According to the Journal of Psychiatric Research, there’s a strong body of evidence that points to Botox as an effective therapy for depression – enhancing mood by limiting the face's capacity for frowning.

The Botox Procedure

Botox – botulinum toxin type A – is produced from Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium found in many natural settings.

It was used medically before it became a cosmetic option. Its first application was in 1977 to treat strabismus, a condition affecting the eye muscles and causing crossed eyes.

Although Botox uses the toxin that causes botulism food poisoning, it’s injected in small, safe, targeted doses.

The benefits of Botox are delivered by a simple injection procedure that typically takes full effect within a week, and a single treatment relaxes muscles for three to four months.

The length of the procedure depends on the number of injections needed but should take no longer than half an hour, with minimal preparation and little if any downtime.

Although any injection can be disconcerting, the needles used in Botox procedures are very small and discomfort generally minimal. The area to be treated may also be numbed with anesthetic ointment.

Botox typically has few negative side effects. The most common side effect is slight, temporary bruising, which usually disappears in a few days. Headaches can occur but are rare and, like bruises, fade over a day or two.

Botox Treatments in the Dental Office

As primary health care providers and clinical specialists in facial anatomy – from the forehead to the chin – dentists are well placed to offer both medical and cosmetic Botox treatments.

Dental practices have been approved to perform Botox and other non-surgical aesthetic procedures for more than 10 years.

According to the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE), Botox cosmetic therapy is now a standard dentistry practice, with an estimated 20 percent of dentists trained in the procedure.

Some dental offices also offer Botox medical treatments, typically for TMJ disorders when the jaw joints and muscles malfunction – the second most common cause of facial discomfort after dental issues such as toothache.

The AAFE says Botox injected into facial muscles provides an effective treatment for TMJ ailments and associated jaw tension and pain. Botox can also ease headaches and minimize symptoms of lockjaw.

Botox alleviates jaw stiffness by obstructing the release of a chemical called acetylcholine, which contracts muscles around the jaw joint. Botulinum powder diluted in saline is injected directly into neuromuscular tissue.

If you’re 18 or over, you may be able to get the medical or cosmetic benefits of Botox treatment. However, it’s not suitable for everyone. An experienced Botox provider will be able to tell you whether this is the right treatment for you.