BOTOX® Cosmetic Smooths Facial Wrinkles
These days you would have to live on the dark side of the moon to not have heard of BOTOX® Cosmetic. From its FDA approval for cosmetic uses some ten years ago, BOTOX® Cosmetic has become the number one, top non-surgical cosmetic treatment in America. The best news is that as a dentist and medical professional, we are able to deliver and use BOTOX® Cosmetic at our Elkhart, IN, office for the treatment of many zones of facial wrinkles and in treating ailments such as TMJ and Bruxism. Contact Watkins Family Dentistry today to schedule a BOTOX® Cosmetic consultation.
About BOTOX® Cosmetic
The word "BOTOX" is actually a combination of two words–”Botulinum” and “Toxin”. In simple terms, a bacteria (called Clostridium Botulinum) produces a toxin, or compound, that contains a number of serums (thin, watery fluid). Of these serums, there are two (Type A&B) that are approved for various uses. Type A is what is used for cosmetic treatments.
Here’s what BOTOX® Cosmetic does:
Every time a muscle contracts it does so because it has received a signal from a nerve. Picture the nerve and muscle meeting up at a junction, perhaps with a stoplight saying “stop or go” (that would be the nerve). Of course there is not a stoplight at the nerve ending, what actually happens is that a chemical (long name) is released by the nerve and this chemical then binds to the muscle side. When it binds to the muscle side then a chemical reaction is trigger which is what causes the contraction.
What BOTOX® Cosmetic does is simple, it blocks the receptor on the muscle side. Now when the nerve releases its signal (like the green light) this signal has nothing to trigger or bind to on the muscle. So although the signal is given, no muscular response or contraction occurs.
This process causes a relaxation and is why BOTOX® Cosmetic is so effective in treating certain types of facial wrinkles and in delivering relief to TMJ sufferers.
Two Things to Know about BOTOX® Cosmetic:
One–The process of blocking these nerves is not reversible and does not “wear off.” The reason that BOTOX® Cosmetic injections must be redone is due to the fact that the muscle will grow new receptors over a period of several months and so these new receptors must now be blocked. (Note: the effect of a BOTOX® Cosmetic injection is not instant and may take a week or so to become noticeable)
Two–Not all wrinkles are equally responsive to BOTOX® Cosmetic It works best upon what are called “dynamic wrinkles” which are those caused by muscular contractions such as a frown or eye squint. The permanent crease type wrinkles caused by loss of tissue elasticity, not muscle contraction, may soften with Botox but will not vanish.
The technical name for the chemical released by the nerves is “acetylcholine” and it takes 5-10 days for the BOTOX® Cosmetic to fully block the muscle’s response to this chemical.
Then, over the next 3-5 months, the muscle will grow new receptor sites. These new receptors are not blocked and will react/contract when the nerve releases that chemical. That is the reason why BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments must be redone every several months, not because it “wears off” but because new muscle receptors grow and now must be blocked.
As a note, BOTOX® Cosmetic has effect of relaxing the muscles which can mean long-term benefits. In simple and non-scientific terms, by being relaxed the muscles and nerves can learn a new pattern and will no longer contract to the same degree. When this occurs there can be a lessening of wrinkles over time, or in case of TMJ treatments a more permanent reduction in symptoms.
How BOTOX® Cosmetic Works on Wrinkles
First, a muscle contracts and this results in a wrinkle. Now, when BOTOX® Cosmetic is injected the muscle does not contract and this leaves the skin smoother and softer. The effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic are most noticeable in dynamic wrinkles, or wrinkles that are formed when the muscle contracts.
Note: as we get older and lose elasticity in the skin, a permanent crease can form leaving a wrinkle that is noticeable even without muscle contraction. BOTOX® Cosmetic does not get rid of these wrinkles, but may help soften them.
One very interesting side note is that tests have demonstrated that women who receive BOTOX® Cosmetic early on, such as in the 20′s, tend to develop far fewer wrinkles as they age compared to those that did not receive treatments. This makes sense as without the “crinkling” of the skin it is far less likely for permanent creases to form.
Frequently asked questions (not answered above)
How is BOTOX® Cosmetic administered and is it painful?
The doctor will make several small injections to the area to be treated. These are not generally painful, no more than a pin prick, and this is a relatively quick procedure.
Are BOTOX® Cosmetic injections safe?
Numerous clinical trials and FDA approvals have demonstrated a high level of safety. However, as always, it is our job as medical professionals to advise and consult on whether any procedure is suited to an individual.
How often do the procedures need to be done and are they expensive?
Most BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments must be redone every few months, as explained above. That means 3 months on the short end and 6 months on the outside. Depending upon the area of treatment and number of injections, a typical treatment might run from $200 to $400.
How effective is BOTOX® Cosmetic in treating wrinkles?
As covered above, there is only minor improvement on permanent crease type wrinkles but even these will soften. Where BOTOX® Cosmetic is highly effective is on the type of wrinkles causes by muscular contraction, such as: forehead wrinkles, smile lines, the between eyebrow wrinkles and crow’s feet around the eyes. What is particularly good news is that the regular use of BOTOX® Cosmetic in these areas will do quite a bit to slow or reduce the formation of permanent crease wrinkles in those areas, preserving a more youthful look for years to come.
Are there other uses for BOTOX® Cosmetic?
Yes, quite a few in fact from treating headaches, backaches and even to reduce excessive sweating. However, in a Dental Clinic our work is limited to facial procedures, oral health related issues and TMJ treatments.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you are considering BOTOX® Cosmetic to treat your facial wrinkles, contact Watkins Family Dentistry today. We can discuss BOTOX® Cosmetic during your biannual cleaning appointment or schedule an appointment to talk about this treatment on its own.