You might be wondering why us dentists would be writing about facial injectables. This is a relatively new arena for dentists and we are referring to treatments ranging from settling overactive jaw muscles and reducing gummy smiles to relaxing wrinkles and enhancing lips.
Treatment of TMD
The most beneficial non-cosmetic treatment we can offer as dentists is treatment for temporomandibular disorder, or TMD. Muscle relaxing injections to the masseter muscles alleviate the stresses of night time bruxism, or teeth grinding, which causes wear and damage to the teeth and arthritic problems with the jaw joints. Teeth grinding, in our opinion, causes more damage than tooth decay and gum disease put together. Champion grinders literally smash their teeth apart, leading to extensive dental treatment requirements. Night guards are an excellent way to keep the teeth out of each other’s way and to reduce stresses on the jaw joints, but an even better approach is to reduce the activity of the offending muscles, the masseters, which connect the corners of the jaws up to the cheek bones. Eventually the overdeveloped masseters become markedly reduced in size and power, with the effect of alleviating the huge stresses endured by the teeth and jaw joints during the night.
Another excellent treatment is relaxing the Levator Labii Superioris Alaequi Nasi muscle. Now that’s a mouthful, literally, because this muscle raises the central portion of the upper lip during smiling. People with a gummy smile either have a long maxillary bone (the bone that carries the upper teeth) or an overactive LLSAN muscle. If it’s the latter, dentists can use muscle relaxing injections to stop its activity and allow them to smile without showing so much of their gums.
Dentists are very well equipped to also use these techniques for cosmetic purposes. With intimate knowledge of facial anatomy, and an expert proficiency with local anaesthetics, it’s little wonder that dentists are increasingly being sought after for cosmetic facial treatments such as forehead lines, frown lines and crow’s feet, not to mention lip and wrinkle fillers. The teeth, mouth, lips and face are inseparable. Cosmetic dental treatments are beautifully enhanced when full facial aesthetics are considered.