Botox: Not just cosmetic anymore

By: Kara Van Pelt August 14, 2011

One local dentist has recently expanded his business by offering an alternative way to treat a common disorder known as Temporomandibular disorders, better known as TMD, which occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw.

Although traditional treatments often use night guards or medications, braces or even surgery, Botox injections are now a proven treatment for the disorder, and Dr. Greg Harvey, DDS, has recently started using the product, and his patients are seeing positive results.

"The reason Botox has become a new trend is because it treats a myogenic TMD, one that originates in the muscle," he explains. "Botox is a natural muscle relaxant, a purified protein derived from a botulism micro-organism, so it's not really a  botulism toxin; it is a protein synthesized from the organism.

"What Botox does, when injected into the muscle area that actually controls bite function and jaw movement, it reduces the amount of force that is placed on the bite," he says. "Simply said, it reduces the amount of pressure the muscles exert on the jaws and teeth."

The most common symptoms of TMD include pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide.

He says the success of Botox treatment is dependent on individual patients and how severe the case of TMD is. It is not a permanent fix but much less invasive than some other treatment options.

Since Harvey has started using the injection as a treatment for TMD, he has recently started offering it for cosmetic reasons as well and has also expanded into offering Juvederm, a filler that helps replace lost elasticity of skin that comes naturally with age.

"Since we offer a lot of cosmetic dentistry such as veneers, Lumineers, and teeth whitening, it was a natural transition to offer Botox and Juvederm for cosmetic reasons as well," he says. "We are very dedicated to pleasing our patients and helping them find confidence in their appearance. We go out of our way to work with patients to help them achieve a look that pleases them."

Harvey offers complimentary consultations with patients interested in Juvederm or Botox for cosmetic reasons. He examines the patient and has him or her fill out a questionnaire to determine if it is the right choice.

"We welcome people for just cosmetic reasons or just for dental," he says. "We would like to have this as an adjunctive to overall dental or oral health care, but it's really whatever the patient wants."

Greg Harvey is located in Beckley Plaza Mall. For more information, call 304-256-0506 or visit