Forget the spa -- dentists in demand for Botox

By Molly Shen May 6, 2014

SEATTLE - Most people aren't looking for any extra time in the dentist chair. You go for cleanings and hope to avoid needles and drills. But a growing number of people are turning to their dentists for an extra shot, as Botox becomes a growing trend in dental care.

In his 17 years as a cosmetic dentist, Dr. Lance Timmerman has overseen countless cleanings and cavities, but he specializes in the smile.

Patient Corinne Lombardo describes how she used to cover her mouth with her hand if she laughed.

"I didn't smile," she said.

Dr. Timmerman rebuilt Lombardo's teeth with veneers and crowns and she finally liked what she saw when she looked in the mirror. But she wasn't completely satisfied.

"When you get that done, you start looking at yourself and thinking I now notice this and I notice this," she said.

Lombardo's experience wasn't unique. Dr. Timmerman regularly had patients who wanted more.

"They'd start noticing lines in the lips or a lack of fullness in the lips," he said. "The lines from the nose to the corners of the mouth. They started noticing things that I didn't notice or care about until then. I decided I should learn how to frame the artwork. If the porcelain veneers are the art, a nice frame would help."

The state allows administering Botox under the definition of dentistry, but the health department doesn't track the number of dentists who offer the service.  And the level of training dentists receive can vary. Before choosing a dentist for Botox, find out where and how recently they've been trained. Dr. Timmerman went through Miami based DentaSpa Seminars, which recently expanded its training to our state because of high demand.

So now, with the bridges and dentures, Dr. Timmerman offers Botox and dermal fillers. He first added injectables eight years ago and sees many fellow dentists doing the same. No one tracks the number of dentists offering Botox, but it's become so popular, the University of Washington School of Dentistry is looking at adding it to the classroom curriculum.

And while patients have a host of choices when it comes to Botox, from spas to plastic surgeons, Ellen Hector believes the dentist is best. Dr. Timmerman knows her mouth better than anyone.

"They pretty much built up my cheekbones to pull everything up and it made a big difference," Hector said.  "People were noticing it last night but they would say, oh you look well rested, have you been on vacation?"

Nope. Just to the dentist.