You may have heard of Botox and its uses for cosmetic treatments—smoothing lines and wrinkles to give a more youthful look. It may also help reduce chronic headaches and migraines in patients. Botox is a neurotoxin that is safely injected into the face to relax the muscles in the face. Originally, patients who used Botox to minimize their wrinkles reported that they had fewer headaches. So doctors noticed the link between the two and began to study it as a migraine treatment.
For many people, their ideas of Botox lie with images of celebrities with stoic or frozen faces. Patients may feel wary of the ideas associated with using it. While there is no shame in using Botox for cosmetic reasons, as that is its original design, there are a lot of medical benefits that are related to Botox injections. These include their uses for chronic pain, facial tics, migraine headaches, or TMJ pain.
How Does the Botox Injection Work?
Think of your brain and nerves as a web where everything connects. Tiny pathways create complex emotions and feelings. Influencing one small portion of the web—or nerves— will trigger a response.
In order to prevent or reduce headaches, a dentist will inject Botox into the fibers that trigger pain. Botox will attach itself to the nerve endings at the end of the muscle, making it relax. The toxin will move to the nerve endings, travel to the pain receptors that cause your migraines, and block the chemicals that transmit pain.
Over the course of a few days, the Botox injection will stop the pain signals from movement or lack thereof. Blocking the pathway keeps the nerves from passing along pain like a roadblock. The Botox injection only lasts for roughly three to four months. So you will need to visit your dentist for another injection if needed.
Why Choose a Dentist for Botox?
Dentists spend years studying facial and oral anatomy. They are well versed in the intricacies of a patient’s facial expressions, which may be an area of concern when choosing Botox. Beyond muscle movement, dentists are experts in the blood vessels, bones, and nerves in your face. With a dentist, you are much less likely to have any adverse reactions due to provider error.
On a daily basis, dentists must provide patients with anesthetic injections in order for patients to be more comfortable during their procedures. Dentists have extensive training to give patients these anesthetics. They also have routine experience giving quick, painless injections, which should put you more at ease.
Botox alone cannot eliminate the pain of chronic headaches and migraines, so it will need to be used with other therapies and procedures. It is an excellent way to reduce your symptoms and have more pain-free days.