gloved hands holding small bottles of botox

The History of Botox and How It’s Used in Dentistry

Botox is well known for its ability to make faces look younger, but that’s not what it was originally intended to do. Now popular for reducing wrinkles, Botox was first used as a treatment for certain eye conditions. Today, it is used to treat a wide range of medical and dental problems. Let’s explore the history of Botox and how it’s used in dentistry. 

A Brief History of Botox

Discovery of the Botulinum Toxin

Botox is made from safe amounts of botulinum, a potent neurotoxin that blocks nerve signals to paralyze or weaken certain muscles. The bacteria that produce this toxin, Clostridium botulinum, were first discovered in the late 19th century by Belgian bacteriologist Emile van Ermengem. And in 1946, Dr. Edward Schantz successfully isolated the botulinum toxin from Clostridium botulinum. 

Early Medical Uses

Dr. Alan Scott, an American ophthalmologist known as the “Father of Botox,” later recognized that the paralytic effects of the isolated botulinum toxin had potential medical benefits for eye impairments. He began working on a treatment for eye diseases that would later be known as Botox.

In 1978, Dr. Scott successfully used a diluted and purified version of the botulinum toxin to treat a patient’s eye muscles after retinal detachment. He called the treatment “Oculinum” and continued to refine the toxin. 

In 1989, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of botulinum toxin for crossed eyes and severe eye twitching. Since then, it has also been used to treat migraines, neck spasms, teeth grinding, TMJ disorders, and many other conditions. 

Botox as a Cosmetic Solution

After receiving injections for eye impairments, many patients happily noticed that the lines around their eyes were smoother. The toxin quickly became popular for its cosmetic uses, thanks to its ability to reduce wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, make the lips appear larger, or lift the eyebrows.

In 1991, Dr. Scott sold the rights to Oculinum to the company Allergan, which rebranded it as today’s household name, Botox. In 2002, the FDA approved Botox for cosmetic use, and it became a cultural phenomenon as celebrities started using it to make themselves look younger. 

How Botox Is Used in Dentistry

Despite its fascinating history, most people only know of Botox as a cosmetic treatment. However, it’s used for so much more. Botox is popular in dentistry because it is non-invasive, versatile, and offers quick results with minimal side effects. Its ability to halt muscle contractions can help dental patients with a variety of issues.

In dentistry, Botox can be used to treat:

  • TMJ Disorders—Dysfunctions of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can cause headaches, earaches, and pain when eating or chewing. Injecting Botox at TMJ trigger points relaxes the jaw muscles and relieves discomfort. 
  • Bruxism—Grinding and clenching your teeth leads to enamel erosion, chipped teeth, loose teeth, headaches, and TMJ disorders. Botox treatment relaxes the muscles that cause bruxism, helping to protect your teeth and relieve pain. 
  • New Dentures—Custom dentures are comfortable once you get used to them, but that can take a while. Botox relieves your discomfort during the initial adjustment period. 

Dental Botox Treatment in South Jordan, Utah

If you’re interested in Botox for treating a dental condition or TMJ disorder, adjusting to dentures, or simply enhancing your smile, contact Copper Creek Dental in Daybreak. We offer professional Botox injections for cosmetic and therapeutic treatments. Give us a call today at 801-280-1911 to schedule an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/31/2023). Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels

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