Botulinum toxin A is a medical gift that keeps on giving. More than a hundred years ago, who would have thought that a substance responsible for unpleasant food poisoning would play such an important role in medical and cosmetic treatments today? Botox and other injectable forms of botulinum toxin continue to be one of the most popular cosmetic treatments available today. But, if you look more closely, you might find a few things that you didn’t know about the treatment.
It Has Medical Uses
The fact that Botox can minimize frown lines and other dynamic wrinkles (those lines that form as a result of years of movement) was actually discovered as a side effect of another use for the injectable. One of the first approved uses for Botox was as a treatment for eyelid spasms, in 1989. Doctors injecting it into their patients noticed that those patients also had a reduction in wrinkles near the eyes and eyebrows. More than a decade later, in 2002, the FDA approved Botox for treating the vertical frown lines between the brows. After another 11 years, in 2013, the FDA approved the injectable for the treatment of crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes.
Since then, Botox has been explored and approved as a treatment for myriad other medical conditions. While it won’t cure migraines, strategically placed injections can help reduce the frequency of the headaches. The FDA has also approved Botox for treating overactive bladders, excessive underarm sweating, and upper limb spasticity. Recently, the FDA approved the injectable for treating lower limb spasticity, as well.
It Can Minimize a Gummy Smile
Although it’s commonly associated with helping to reduce dynamic wrinkles and with potentially extending the life of fillers when used at the same time, Botox and similar injections, such as Dysport, have other cosmetic uses, too. One popular use of the injectable is to treat a gummy smile. People with gummy smiles show an excess amount of gum tissue when they smile. It can be because the upper lip is short, the teeth are too small, or the upper lip muscle is hyperactive.
Botox hasn’t been approved by the FDA for treating a gummy smile, but some doctors and dentists do offer the treatment. It works by temporarily relaxing the muscle in the upper lip. The muscle doesn’t receive certain nerve signals for a period of time, so it doesn’t lift up to reveal the gums. As when Botox is used to treat frown lines or crow’s feet, the results typically last about three months, though you can repeat them.
Just as you would when finding a Botox provider to treat wrinkles, you want to do your research when choosing a provider to treat a gummy smile. Ask about his or her training with the injectable, how often they have used it to treat gummy smiles and if you can see before and after photos of other patients.
It Can Impact Your Emotions
One strange fact about Botox is that it not only has an effect on certain physical functions, it might also have an effect on how you feel. Certain facial expressions are limited by the Botox treatment, such as frowning or smiling. As it turns out, you don’t just make those faces when you feel sad or happy. Making those facial expressions can also determine the degree to which you feel sadness or happiness.
The impact Botox can have on how you actually feel might make it a potential treatment for depression. Since the injection cuts off the feedback signals sent to your brain when you frown, you might be less likely to feel intense sadness or depression. The FDA hasn’t yet approved Botox or similar injectables as a depression treatment, but there are ongoing studies examining its impact.
It Can Help TMJ Disorders
Botox is also being used as an exploratory treatment for people suffering from TMJ disorders, often characterized by pain or clicking in the jawbone. Injections of Botox can help to minimize the muscle movement in the jaw, relaxing the area and potentially reducing discomfort and symptoms of TMJ disorders.
At the Naderi Centers in Virginia and Maryland, Dr. Jessica Kulak offers Botox and Dysport injections to help patients combat the signs of aging. To learn more fun facts about the treatment and to see if it is a good option for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak today. Call (703) 481-0002 for an appointment in Virginia or (301) 222-2020 for an appointment in Maryland