In the last 30 years, esthetic dentistry has seen a huge rise in popularity as techniques such as teeth whitening and dental implants have become more accessible. However, dentists can do more than give their patients a healthy and beautiful smile. Once you’ve seen to the teeth, what about the folds and wrinkles around the mouth that can detract from a perfect smile?
Dento-facial symmetry can play a huge role in the cosmetic outcomes of your patients, and being able to offer facial volume restoration using dermal filler agents or Botox can be a huge benefit to your practice. This blog post will explain why you should consider extending your esthetic offerings to include facial complex, and which filler agents work best.
Why Dentists Should Offer Dermal Filler Injections
In 2017, the global market for dermal fillers and Botox was worth an estimated USD $7,125.65 million with that number expected to more than double within the next 10 years. These numbers represent money patients have spent on elective esthetic procedures that may go hand-in-hand with what you’re already offering. Why not give patients the option to get their elective procedures done all in the same office?
The truth is, many dentists already are. Nearly half of the state dental boards in the U.S. currently allow dentists to administer Botox and dermal fillers to patients, and that number is increasing. Already, an estimated eight per cent of dentists in North America offer these services.
Additionally, dentists already have a vast knowledge of the oral and maxillofacial area comparable to other professionals such as dermatologists and plastic surgeons who are providing these procedures. Dentists are also very familiar with administering injections, though primarily in the mouth. The injections used in facial rejuvenation procedures are similar to those administered in dentistry and are even concentrated to many of the same areas of the face dentists already inject. Dentists even have an advantage over other professionals in the space, as dentists are able to administer proper anesthesia in treatment areas for increased comfort for the patient.
Though additional training in Botox and dermal filler injection techniques are required, it is a natural extension of the cosmetic dentistry that professionals in the field currently offer.
Botox vs. Dermal Fillers: What’s the Difference?
Botox and dermal fillers are able to provide similar results to patients but are very distinct products with specific uses.
Botox is the brand name of botulinum toxin, which is a neurotoxin that blocks the signals between the nerves and the muscle upon injection into a muscle. The result of this mechanism of action is a temporary paralysis of the muscle. As the muscles can no longer contract, the lines and wrinkles that form in the skin upon dynamic motion no longer appear. This gives an overall appearance of smooth skin. After injection, Botox takes approximately three to 10 days to show optimal effects, and the results last between three to four months. Patients can receive additional treatment at this time.
Dermal fillers are a larger category of product with more brand names available made of various materials. The most popular dermal fillers, such as Juvederm and Restylane, are made of hyaluronic acid, while other favorites such as Radiesse are made of calcium hydroxylapatite.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that occurs naturally within the skin that diminishes as we age. As the stores of hyaluronic acid deplete, the skin becomes thinner, dryer, and more susceptible to lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are able to replenish the skin’s supply to offer increased volume and hydration, smoothing out wrinkles and filling in areas where volume has been lost. Calcium hydroxylpatite is a compound that is found in human bones and was first used in dentistry. It offers a very natural-looking result when restoring volume and does not migrate once it is implanted. Dermal fillers typically provide instant results that last anywhere from three to 12 months.
As Botox and dermal fillers have a different mechanism of action, they can treat different esthetic issues in different areas of the face.
What Can Botox Treat?
Though Botox cannot add volume to the skin like dermal fillers can, it is effective at diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and smoothing the skin. It is commonly used in the forehead to treat horizontal lines, in the area between the eyes (glabellar region), around the sides of the eyes to treat crow’s feet, and around the lips.
Botox also has many therapeutic uses on top of its esthetic treatments. It can be used on patients with chronic TMJ and facial pain, as well as in cases of bruxism. It is also a minimally invasive alternative to surgical cosmetic dentistry, as it can help treat high lip line cases, lip augmentation, and can assist patients who are having issues adjusting to new dentures. It can also help retrain facial muscles in orthodontic cases where necessary.
Dentists have the opportunity to assist patients using Botox in specific ways that other healthcare professionals are unable to offer.
What Can Dermal Fillers Treat?
Dermal fillers can treat areas in the face that need additional volume. This includes nasolabial folds, oral commissures, between the eyebrows, cheek depressions, crow ’s feet, marionette lines, and lips. Unlike Botox which is injected directly into the muscles, dermal fillers are injected underneath the skin to plump up these areas from within. This gives a smooth, natural looking appearance.
Dermal fillers can also help with lip augmentation, and dentists can use them in cases of high lip line, uneven lips, and to make the peri-oral area more esthetically pleasing overall.
Both dermal fillers and Botox may cause minor side effects, such as pain, bleeding, redness, swelling, bruising, infections, and tenderness near the area of injection. However, they are both clinically tested and safe products to use for cosmetic treatments.
With a little bit of training on Botox and dermal filler injection techniques, you will be well on your way to being able to offer your esthetic dentistry patients the perfect balance of facial volume restoration and rejuvenation.