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your look ● the smile dr By Dr. Mark Falco Can You Believe in Botox? Not normally known for their dental advantages, Botox and dermal fillers can actually provide positive solutions to giving you a million dollar smile Y our smile is your best asset. It is always present wherever you are and whenever you want it, and, most importantly, your smile let’s everyone you meet know what you’re feeling. How good does that make you feel? Today’s dentistry has evolved to make that good feeling an absolutely superb one. Teeth straightening and teeth whitening have become lifestyle fa- vorites for many young men and women. Now Botox and dermal fillers can be used in dentistry to greatly enhance those bright smiles. Botox (and its close cousin Dysport) is a trade name for botulinum toxin Type A, a purified protein that is injected into facial muscles to block muscle activity. This inaction of the muscle allows the skin above that muscle to move dy- namically which prevents wrinkling and smoothens the skin. Its use is to reduce wrinkles between the eyes at the bridge of the nose, around the corners of the eyes (crow’s feet), the forehead and around the lips. Botox has a temporary effect and usually requires re-treatment after 3 or 4 months. GETTING YOUR FILL Dermal fillers include harvested fat from your own body, collagen (from human or cow skin), hyaluronic acid (from human skin), calcium hydroxylapatite (from human bones) and synthetics. These fillers plump up volume within the facial tissue and help create immediate facelifts. The results are temporary as well, lasting about 6 to 12 months, requir- 62 PAGEANTRY ing ongoing and regular retreatments. Both Botox and dermal fillers (such as Restylane and Juvederm) are used by dentists to build better smiles. Botox can be used in conjunction with dermal fillers to reduce a high lip line, the unsightly appearance that creates a “gummy” smile. The alternative has traditionally been sur- gery or orthodontics or both. Botox and dermal fillers can help to erase the wrinkles around the lower portion of the face for people that have had new dental veneers placed and do not want to call attention to the aging skin around the teeth. Dental implants are used as replacements for missing teeth, but oftentimes are not able to fill in depressions or gaps beneath the facial skin that have occurred due to un- supported bone caused by missing teeth. THE UNSUNG POSITIVES OF BOTOX Botox can be used to help retrain muscles around the lips after the orthodontic movement of teeth has been complet- ed to prevent the teeth from shifting back. New dentures for people who have suffered with multiple tooth loss can also utilize Botox and dermal fillers to retrain facial muscles that have sunken inward and need to adapt to the new dentures. Botox has had success in alleviating discomfort caused by TMJ (temporomandibular) jaw pain because most of the pain is associated with tightened muscles in and around the face. Its use here also helps to alleviate the teeth grinding habit known as bruxism.