The Lesser-known Uses for Botox
While most people have heard of Botox, it’s usually discussed in the context of cosmetic treatments and Hollywood celebrities. This is because it’s incredibly popular for its ability to smooth out wrinkles, giving skin a younger appearance. But did you know that Botox is also incredibly good at relieving migraine headaches and jaw pain? It might sound strange, but it’s absolutely true! If you’re just learning about this use for Botox, you might not know much about why this treatment is used this way or how it works. To make learning this information as easy as possible, we’ve put together the basics of Botox and how it could relieve your symptoms.
Botox has been relieving headaches for over a decade.
Botox was actually first introduced as a treatment for migraines in 2000 because multiple patients receiving it for cosmetic purposes reported that they’d experienced an improvement in their headaches. The FDA approved Botox for migraine treatment in 2010 after multiple medical studies showed the efficacy of the treatment. And the studies really do speak for themselves! In one study, adult participants reported that the treatment gave them more pain-free days each month and cut down on the severity of their headaches on the days that they had them. Another study noted that after five rounds of Botox treatment, 70% of participants reported that the number of days they usually got headaches each month was cut in half! That’s a huge difference—more than enough to transform someone’s daily life.
But how does Botox manage this? Doctors or trained dentists inject Botox around nerve endings, or pain fibers, that are involved in sending pain signals to your brain during a headache. Once it reaches your nerve endings, Botox blocks the neurotransmitters that send these pain signals. While Botox doesn’t treat the underlying condition that causes migraines, the result is still transformative for many people because it reduces the severity and frequency of headaches and migraines.
It’s also often used to relieve jaw pain.
In some cases, Botox can also be a treatment option if you’re experiencing TMD or severe pain in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) from clenching or grinding your teeth. Recent studies have shown that the treatment can yield significant results in preventing bruxism, including sleep bruxism, and relieving related TMD symptoms like jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, dental injuries, and more. Botox manages this in the same way that it smooths wrinkles—by relaxing and partially paralyzing certain muscles in your face and jaw, limiting their ability to contract. Much like the way it blocks pain from migraines, Botox does this by blocking nerve impulses.
When you receive this treatment, your dentist targets specific muscles like the masseter muscle, which is involved in chewing. By forcing these muscles to relax, Botox treatments reduce clenching and grinding, which in turn cuts down on the pressure that’s placed on your jaw and teeth. This helps relieve pain in your jaw and teeth, but the reduction in muscle tension can also relieve symptoms like tension headaches and muscle soreness in your face, neck, and shoulders.
Despite the significant difference this treatment can make in your TMJ pain and other TMD symptoms, there are other treatments that you can try before resorting to it. Treatment options like nightguards and orthodontics can improve or resolve symptoms as well. Everyone has different treatment needs and wants, but it may be best to look into these options first. If you have any questions about your treatment options or what might be best for you, you can always schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss your options.
Botox requires regular treatments for full effectiveness.
While Botox can be incredibly effective for many people, you’ll need regular injections for the best results. You likely won’t experience its full benefits until you’ve received several rounds of treatment. In the same study where 70% of patients saw their headaches cut in half after five rounds of treatment, a little less than half of the patients had seen the same improvement after just two rounds. This just goes to show that sticking with the treatment for a little while to give it a chance is a good idea! Everyone’s treatment needs are different, however, so how often you’ll need to receive Botox will depend on your unique case and symptoms.
Your dentist is a good choice for Botox treatments.
When you think about getting Botox treatments, going to a dentist might not be your first thought. Despite this, a dentist who is trained to deliver injections can actually be a very good choice for this type of treatment. Dentists have extensive training in facial anatomy, so they understand the functions and relationships between the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and blood vessels in your face. When paired with the considerable training necessary to provide Botox treatments, this knowledge helps them understand exactly where they need to inject Botox and why that location is best, helping them give you the best results possible. When you’re choosing a dentist or doctor to provide treatments, don’t be afraid to ask questions about their training and experience. These kinds of questions are normal—even expected—so a good dentist or doctor won’t mind answering them.
Nowadays, Botox isn’t just a cosmetic treatment for the Hollywood elite—it’s a medical treatment that can transform your daily life by allowing you to experience more pain-free days. Whether you need it for migraines or jaw pain, this kind of transformation can give you the freedom you need to live your life to the fullest again! If you’d like to learn more about Botox, what it can do for you, or Dr. Bentz’s qualifications, feel free to schedule a consultation with us at any time.