Botulinum toxin (Botox) can be injected into humans in extremely small concentrations and works by preventing signals from the nerve cells reaching muscles, effectively leaving the muscles without instructions to contract, therefore paralyzing them.
How Does Botox Work?
In order for muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical messenger, acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter), at the junction where the nerve endings meet muscle cells. The acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the muscle cells to contract or shorten. Injected botulinum toxin prevents the release of acetylcholine, preventing contraction of the muscle cells. The effect of Botox causes a reduction in muscle contraction allowing the muscles to become less stiff. The effect of Botox lasts between 3 to 6 months.
What is it used for?
Botox is known to reduce wrinkles and age lines in the face. More than just a vanity product, it can be useful for treating a variety of medical conditions ranging from eye squints to migraines, excess sweating to leaky bladders. There are currently over 20 different medical conditions that Botox is being used to treat with more being discovered regularly. With regard to TMD and facial pain it is used to inactivate the jaw muscles. The muscles are partially paralyzed with the hope that this results in less pain. It is also used to reduce muscle bulk. Some people have very enlarged jaw muscles from grinding and clenching habits. Botox can inactivate the muscles, causing them to get smaller in size producing a more cosmetically appealing appearance.
What to expect
Botox is injected using many small injections with a very fine needle. The after effect can be soreness in the area. Application of a cold compress helps. Occasionally there is a bruise but this not common. The effect is not immediate it takes several days for the effect to be noticeable.
Are you interested in Botox? Call Steven Syrop, DDS in Manhattan, NY and Briarcliff, NY at (212) 969-9166 to learn more about reducing your wrinkles!