I recently completed a series of courses on why people clench and grind their teeth (bruxism) and what we as Dentists can do to help them (either with Splint therapy or the use of Neural relaxants – Botox). Let’s face it, today everyone’s life seems to have sped up whether it be work or home, everything needs to be done quicker and there always seems more to do.
The way we deal with this is to clench and grind our teeth either during the day or at sleep. Ask yourself, have you ever stopped whilst working in front of the computer screen (the deadline is fast approaching and it needs to be finished), or woken up in the morning with muscle tightness in your face?
Generally a very strong facial muscle called the Masseter is often responsible for the condition and it is basically in a continual state of contraction, if we can relax this muscle then we can reduce the forces causing clenching and reduce its intensity. Probably the easiest way to do this is inject a muscle relaxant (Botox) directly into the muscle, which relaxes it within 2 weeks and keeps it that way for a further 6 months. The procedure is relatively painless and takes about 20 minutes to do.
Botox and/or with the combination of medications called Dermal Fillers can also correct other visual appearances such as:
(a) Gummy smiles (showing more gum than teeth when you smile)
(b) Lip lines (radiate from the lips vertically)
(c) Mouth frown (where the corners of our lips sag down)
(d) Dimpled chin (resulting in an “orange peel” appearance)
Botox is used to relax the muscles causing the problem, whilst the Dermal fillers increase volume in the area of the creases by raising collagen volume, skin texture and quality, and rebuilding facial proportions.
As our ligaments and skin become stretched this causes sagging and ultimately wrinkles the aim of the treatment is to enhance existing facial features, correct small defects and improve facial symmetry. Where the fillers are successful is:
(a) Treatment of the folds which radiate down from the side of the nose towards the corner of the mouth
(b) Lips (inflate their appearance, remove lines around them)
(c) Jaw line (remove the fat looking lower jowls)
(d) Chin (increase chin projection and remove horizontal creases between the lower border of the face and the mouth.
The combination of these materials is a wonderful adjunct to help the overall appearance of the face, especially after some of the complex aesthetic and structural changes I make to the teeth and really extend the scope of treatment I can provide for my patients. As always it always starts with a detailed consultation with the patient to see exactly what they would like to achieve and how I can help.