If you have ever considered getting Botox, it is important to understand what it is and what it does. Botox is the shortened trade name for Botulinum Toxin; Botox is supplied in a solid form and contains sodium chloride (salt), and a protein commonly found in blood plasma and produced by the liver. Botox contains a neurotoxin (botulinum toxin); while this is a poisonous substance in large doses, it has proven to be a successful and valuable therapeutic treatment when dosage and frequency of treatment are considered.

Botox was approved for use by the FDA in 2002; while it was originally used for medicinal purposes, it is now commonly used for cosmetic procedures, such as diminishing wrinkles and fine lines. Botox is administered in extremely small amounts in humans, and is injected directly into specific muscles of the body. Botox works by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles; the injected muscle can no longer contract, causing the wrinkles to soften and relax. Botox is most often injected into the lines between your eyebrows, the lines around the eyes (crow’s feet), and frown lines around the mouth.

Administering Botox only takes a few minutes and no anesthesia is required. It is injected using a fine needle with minimal discomfort involved. It takes 24-72 hours for Botox to take effect, and results typically last for three to four months. It is important to note that Botox is a temporary treatment and must be repeated over time to maintain a consistent look. The injections are generally well tolerated and there are a few mild side effects, including pain at the injection site, swelling, and bruising. Headaches and mild fatigue and nausea have also been reported. Our dentists here at Creekside are specially trained in administering Botox and are extremely knowledgeable in facial, head, and neck anatomy, as well as minimizing any adverse side effects or reactions. Injection procedures at our office are carried out regularly.

Botox can be used for other reasons in addition to aesthetic purposes. Botox is a great option for patients who suffer from teeth-grinding; Botox works to weaken the muscle contraction that normally occurs at night. Botox can also be used to treat migraines, and relax upper lips that pull up and show excessive gum tissue above the teeth. (Some call that a ‘gummy’ smile).

Women who are pregnant should not receive Botox, and certain medications such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Excedrin should be stopped about one week prior to receiving an injection, as these medications thin the blood. It is also important to not rub or massage the treated area for about 24 hours, as this can spread the Botox to other unintended muscles. Icing the area before and after treatment can also reduce any potential bruising. Botox is often not covered by insurance for cosmetic purposes. The cost of Botox can be charged in two different ways: by unit or by the area treated. The cost per unit is generally anywhere from $9-$20. The cost per area can run anywhere from $250-$500, depending on where you are receiving the injections.

If Botox is something you are interested in, please give our office a call as we would love to schedule you for a consultation!

Deborah Hawkins

– Deborah Hawkins, RDA