Botox is a trade name for botulinum toxin, which comes in the form of a purified protein. Botulinum toxin. The cosmetic form of botulinum toxin is a popular injectable that temporarily reduces or eliminates facial fine lines and wrinkles. The most commonly treated areas are frown lines, forehead creases, crow’s feet near the eyes. Several other areas have been treated such as thick bands in the neck, thick jaw muscles, lip lines and gummy smiles.
Botulinum toxin is a purified substance that’s derived from bacteria. Injections of botulinum toxin block the nerve signals to the muscle in which it was injected. Without a signal, the muscle is not able to contract. The end result is diminished unwanted facial wrinkles or appearance. Commonly known types of botulinum toxin type A injections include Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomin®.
How Does it Works
It is injected into the facial muscles and, within a few hours, it attaches itself to the nerve endings of the motor muscles, thereby affecting the nerve transmission to these muscles. It takes anywhere from two to ten days to block the nerve transmitters which innervate the muscles where it was injected. There is no loss of sensory feeling at all during the time that botulinum toxin A is effective. Once these motor nerve endings are interrupted, the muscles cannot contract. When the muscle does not contract, the dynamic motion that causes wrinkles in the skin will then cease. The only reason there are wrinkles in the skin in the first place is because the muscle is moving underneath it, thereby these are called dynamic wrinkles. Approximately three to ten days after treatment, the skin above these motor muscles becomes nice and smooth. The effects of Botox lasts approximately three to four months depending on various factors including the amount of botulinum toxin A injected, metabolic activity of the patient and lifestyle choices, which may cause the Botox treatment not to last as long. When the patient sees the wrinkles reappear, the patient needs retreatment.
This is one of the reasons that Botox has such an incredible safety record. Botulinum toxin A treatment by its nature is a temporary treatment and when the treatment effects are gone, they are gone completely. This is a little different than the usual mindset of dentists. Dentists don’t usually think of our treatments as temporary. The most common dental treatment that is like Botox therapy is teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is a temporary procedure that needs to be refreshed from time to time.
Botulinum toxin can be used to
- Smooth crow’s feet, forehead furrows, frown lines, lip lines and bunny lines
- Diminish neck bands
- Improve the appearance of skin dimpling of the chin
- Lift the corners of the mouth
- Soften a square jawline
- Correct a gummy smile
The FDA has approved the use of Botox® for the frown lines and crow’s feet, while Dysport® and Xeomin® are approved for frown lines only. All other uses are considered “off label.”