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Dental Botox® Use Rises in Teens

The use of Dental Botox® is on the rise amongst teenagers. In a 2010 article by Rochelle Sharpe, this rise in teenage Botox® use was explored. Sharpe asked American Academy of Facial Esthetics president, Louis Malcmacher D.D.S. about his experience with teens’ use of Botox®.


Although Botox® is often associated with fighting aging and changing appearance, it can have therapeutic benefits as well, especially for teenagers.


“Some come in rubbing the side of their jaw or their temple area,” Dr. Malcmacher said. “All of a sudden, they have a lot of pain in the masseter muscles or the temporalis muscles,” he said. “It often feels like severe TMJ.”


Teenagers’ complaints about jaw and headache pain are often related and have relatively little to do with stress, Dr. Malcmacher said. Splints don’t seem to ease the pain, Dr. Malcmacher added, but he’s found that Botox® can provide relief.


According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 12,000 teenagers received Botox injections in 2009 which grew 2% from the year prior.


Dr. Malcmacher said he treats three or four teenagers every month with Botox® for such pain. Oftentimes they get injections for three to five years and most teens’ pain dissipates permanently by the time they reach age 20.


Botox® can also be a great post orthodontic treatment, Dr. Malcmacher said, since many patients have hyperactive mentalis muscles that put pressure on their lower teeth.


Dr. Malcmacher said he has taught many orthodontists how to reduce the mentalis muscle’s strength but not weaken it too much, as the muscle still needs to be used for chewing. But he said that he’s unsure of how many orthodontists are actually using Botox® in their practices.


Sharpe’s article mentioned that by far the most popular Botox® treatment for teens with dental problems involves correcting gummy smiles. As many as 10 teens a month visit Dr. Malcmacher for the procedure, which costs $250 for each set of injections.


The article also delves into the story of Keyla Roman, a teenager who suffered from a gummy smile. At the age of 19, she was treated by Mario Polo, D.M.D., an orthodontist in Puerto Rico who helped devise the gummy smile treatment in 2001 after seeing so many self-conscious teens. He mentioned that while Botox® works quite well, it must be handled very carefully.


Patients can end up with hematomas or bleeding after Botox®, with some patients even having trouble swallowing, speaking, or breathing if the procedure is not completed properly.


“It’s a very tricky procedure,” Dr. Malcmacher said. If a dentist injects too much, the patients’ “upper lip can hang over their knees.”


For more information about proper execution of Botox® injections, TMJ and orofacial pain, you can register for a course at the American Academy of Facial Esthetics.


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