Cosmetic dentistry isn’t entirely the vanity project that many people would often believe. By definition, cosmetic dentistry aims to improve teeth, gums, or bites through the modification of certain features like alignment, size, shape, or color. Even as most people perceive that cosmetic dentistry’s end results seem to dwell on appearance, there are other far-reaching benefits from undergoing treatment. These include improved oral health, enhanced oral functions, and increased confidence.
Among the minimally invasive options offered by cosmetic dentistry are Invisalign treatments and dental botox. On the outside, these two treatments might seem like further examples of vanity procedures. In actuality, they offer more than enhanced aesthetics. Botox treatments help alleviate pain from temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), that painful condition that can cause people to grind their teeth. Meanwhile, Invisalign utilizes clear plastic braces to help straighten teeth and align bites.
Invisalign Technology: More Than Just Brace
Cosmetic dentistry often includes methods in improving teeth and bite alignment. Invisalign deviates from traditional wire-based braces. Instead, its technology utilizes clear plastic aligner trays that gradually move teeth into proper alignment. Apart from aligning teeth, Invisalign can also help correct overbites, crossbites, or underbites.
The biggest difference between Invisalign and regular braces is the method. While traditional braces employ wires to pull misaligned teeth into the correct form, Invisalign forces teeth to conform to position using a series of molds worn by the patient. The dentist will issue new molds every two weeks that force teeth to their new position. Over a series of months, the teeth will gradually conform to the correct alignment.
As a result of the non-traditional procedure employed, Invisalign offers a more lenient method of aligning teeth. The method still requires patients to wear it an average of 20 hours a day. However, the aligners (or trays) are removable. Patients can simply remove their aligners during mealtimes and when brushing and flossing. Putting them back is as easy as removing them.
Invisalign trays are also discrete. Made with clear plastic, Invisalign trays provide a more unobtrusive appearance that can be hard to see from a distance. In contrast, regular braces feature a network of wires and brackets that are highly visible and can interfere with daily activity.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Prior to receiving the first Invisalign aligner, patients undergo extensive sessions where the dental team will take photos and generating computer-generated images of the mouth and teeth. By taking impressions of the mouth, dentists can recreate the inside of your mouth and create a custom solution.
Based on the impressions, dentists will create a series of trays where the teeth will be forced to conform. Each tray will require two weeks of wearing at 20 hours a day each. Afterward, the dentist can check on the progress. Once the evaluation confirms that the latest results are according to plan, the dentist will issue the next tray in the series.
Invisalign treatments require a substantially shorter period of use. Patients normally need to follow the regimen between 6 to 18 months. In contrast, traditional braces require an average wearing time of 2 years, without any removal.
Dental Botox In Cosmetic Dentistry
A second cosmetic dental procedure that is minimally invasive is Dental Botox. Botox treatment is a very popular method that is used to help remove wrinkles from the face. Botox or the trademark name for Botulinum toxin A (hence the name) is a neurotoxin produced by bacteria. Botulinum occurs naturally and is responsible for severe food poisoning (botulism), which on average kills 5 out of 100 people who accidentally ingest it.
Somehow, scientists managed to find a good use for the botulinum toxin. They discovered that if someone receives a direct injection of botox on the skin, the immediate area’s muscles become temporarily paralyzed. This prevents the formation of wrinkles or lines that many people don’t want.
Why Do Dentists Give Botox Injections?
While Botox treatments are associated with anti-aging procedures done in plastic surgeons’ offices, dental professionals are similarly qualified to perform these injections. Dentists are not just experts in teeth, gums, and the mouth area. They are also very proficient in the muscle and bone composition of the entire face. As their training covers facial muscles, they are capable of determining the best way to apply Botox injections throughout the face.
Dental Botox and TMJ
As part of their cosmetic dentistry offerings, many dentists are now getting certifications in Botox treatment. The application of this toxin isn’t limited to improving a patient’s looks. As it turns out, botox injections can help alleviate the pain from temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), a condition that affects the muscles connecting the jaw to the rest of the skull. This condition causes jaw pain and bruxism, which means teeth grinding. When left untreated, TMD can lead to migraines, misaligned bites (malocclusion), pain in the neck and shoulders, hearing damage or loss, sleep disorders, and other painful ailments.
Applied in the right places, Botox injections can alleviate the pain of TMJ disorders. It paralyzes the mouth muscles that cause teeth grinding and clenching, which in turn relaxes the jaw area.
As for the drawbacks, Botox resistance often results from frequent injections, especially when dealing with higher doses. Health professionals recommend switching to a different strain once the effects of usual botox treatments start to wear off quicker.
Arkansas Family Dental Features Cosmetic Dentistry Experts
Like any other medical treatment, effectiveness is often determined by the quality of treatment and the skill of the attending health professional. Arkansas Family Dental features highly skilled dental professionals that utilize the latest technologies in diagnosing and treating oral health problems.
Cosmetic dentistry is among the many services we offer. Our expert staff of dentists and hygienists will help assess your condition and come up with the best solutions to treat your problem. To learn more about our Invisalign program, botox treatment, and other cosmetic dentistry services, schedule an appointment to see us now.