Dentists in Arizona Can Optimize Their Patient Treatment Plans with Botox

International Academy of Facial Aesthetics Journal

August 27, 2012 - Arizona's dental board is one of several states nationwide who have allowed the administration of therapeutic Botox and dermal filler injections in conjunction with dental treatment plans.

According to a Substantive Policy Statement update issued in June by the Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners, "A dentist may inject pharmacological agents such as Botulinum, Toxin Type A, or dermal fillers as supportive therapy in conjunction with a dental treatment plan consistent with the scope of practice."

The statement also makes it clear that the injectables cannot not be administered outside a dental treatment plan solely for cosmetic purposes.

"With proper accreditation and training, Botox and dermal fillers are not only advantageous in dentistry, but are allowed within the scope of dental practice for use by general dentists for dental therapeutic uses," said Ana Delgado, Program Director of DentaSpa and Co-founder of the International Academy of Facial Aesthetics.

Botox is a non-surgical treatment that effectively relieves the painful symptoms and discomfort associated with facial pain stemming from dental issues. "By using Botox in combination with simple dental procedures, we have found that many dental complaints such as Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching) and TMD (temporomandibular disorder) can be resolved quickly and easily," says Delgado.

Long before Botox injections were used for cosmetic purposes to beautify the face, they were used for medical purposes. Spastic facial muscles or muscles that clench involuntarily can cause patients extreme discomfort and embarrassment. Botox Therapeutic treatments, delivered directly to problematic muscles, can relieve facial tics, involuntary teeth clenching, trismus, sialorrhea, and other dental related problems.

Along with aesthetic and therapeutic treatments, dentists are using Botox for clinical uses to assist in optimizing restorative plans including implants, dentures, and treating post-orthodontic volume loss. Because Botox injections relax the muscles surrounding the mouth and jaw, targeted injections are useful in reducing the stress placed on new dental implants, helping them become successfully integrated into the jaw bone.

The therapeutic treatments provide more than just cosmetic effects, they help patients overcome dental challenges and ensure the success of dental restorations.

"I am excited to hear of this recent update as I have many colleagues in other states who have been benefiting for years. Being able to offer patients non-surgical treatments to alleviate pain and therapeutic options with Botox and fillers.  I attended a very comprehensive program a few years back and I found it to be incredible on just how much optimization can be made to various dental cases "
— Trent Smallwood, D.D.S., Arizona

However, Kevin Earle, MPH, executive director of the Arizona Dental Association (AzDA), explained that the change should not be interpreted too broadly. The AzDA participated in the stakeholders committee that drafted the revised substantive policy statement. He explained that previously it was not stated that dentists can administer these pharmacological agents for therapeutic purposes and now it is stated that they can administer these agents.

"The dental board has adopted a change in its Substantive Policy Statement that identifies a safe harbor for dentists to use these pharmacological agents, but there have been no changes in regulations or laws," Earle said.

"Dentists can now use Botox and dermal fillers as part of a dental treatment plan, but this does not open the door for dentists to routinely offer Botox," Earle said. For example, if a patient presents with wrinkles around the forehead and crow's feet and asks if his dentist can give Botox, the answer is no", he stated.

"One key thing to note is that this update on ruling allows Arizona dentists to do these treatments as part of their treatment plans, however they can't advertise the use of Botox to the general public or treat patients just for those purposes," states Delgado. "Facial Aesthetics is a rapidly evolving niche market within dentistry, and with many states now offering aesthetic and therapeutic treatments, it's great to see this update that allows dentists in Arizona to provide their patient these beneficial treatments."

Although dentists in Arizona are limited to injecting for therapeutic uses, it's important to acknowledge that the same area and same dosage is used for aesthetic outcomes as well. "When the IAFA trains dentists to administer Botox for therapeutic purposes, they are also trained about aesthetic outcomes," Delgado said. "The aesthetic effects of therapeutic treatments need to be taken into consideration because it's impossible to separate the two uses and your patient could end up with results they were not prepared for."

DentaSpa, alongside the International Academy of Aesthetics, have trained thousands of dental practitioners from the country's leading dental and medical instructors. Through lecture and live-patient hands-on courses, practitioners learn the cosmetic, therapeutic, and advanced facial aesthetic applications. Designed exclusively for dental practitioners, training and post-seminar support offered provides the best education and resources available to ensure continued business growth and success.

"It is only a matter of time before states nationwide realize the benefits of practitioners offering both aesthetic and therapeutic treatments to provide total patient care and complete smile rejuvenation", claims Delgado. "Arguably, dentists are the most skilled and qualified practitioners to be able to offer facial aesthetic treatments around the face and oral-maxillofacial areas. Patients should be able to benefit from not only therapeutic treatments, but cosmetic rejuvenation as well."

"Since the face is the frame for all dentistry work, restoring facial volume, smoothing wrinkles, and correcting asymmetries is as critical as the dental restoration for achieving optimal cosmetic results," says Delgado.