Given my job title, it’s no secret – I like smiles. Just as I promote a perfect smile for my patients, perfection is the same standard I hold for my own smile. Unfortunately, I never felt as if my smile was something I could show off or be proud of until recently. For years my front tooth was out of alignment, giving me a bit of a “buck tooth.” Still, what bothered me even more was the fact that the right side of my upper lip would raise much higher than my left side every time I smiled. I found myself never wanting to take pictures or laugh. I became so self-conscious about my right lip that went higher the harder I laughed or the more genuine my smile. While I was probably being overly dramatic, I realized my front tooth and the asymmetry of my lip was affecting my confidence and finally decided to take action.
After completing Invisalign with a previous office, I was not satisfied with the results and confided my insecurities to Dr. Guerrero. Turns out, Dr. Guerrero had already decided she wanted to help and had envisioned a plan to address both my concern and hers – more Invisalign and Botox®.
Botox®?! I was slightly surprised at the Botox suggestion, considering I thought Botox® was only used to treat wrinkles! Dr. Guerrero then explained the method behind Botox®, and I agreed to give it a go.
Botulinum Toxin A, commonly referred to as Botox®, Dysport®, or Xeomin®, is an artificially produced neuromuscular paralyzing agent that is now licensed by the FDA. Botox® doesn’t actually work on the muscle itself to freeze wrinkles or relax muscles, but instead the injected Botox® blocks the nerve from sending signals to the muscle. No signal. No muscle contraction.
Over time the nerve creates new endings in a process called sprouting. Once these new nerve ends establish contact with the muscle, signals can be sent again, and the effect of Botulinum Toxin A wears off after 3 – 4 months.
Depending on which muscles Botox® stops from contracting, we see different results. Inject around a muscle that normally contracts to pull your eyebrow down and furrow your brow and the other muscles are now stronger, pulling up an eyebrow that was once held down. Inject around muscles that are used to raise the lip in a smile and you can even out a lip line or even hide a “gummy smile.”
As you can see, Botox® isn’t used to treat just wrinkles. It’s used to treat a myriad of medical issues from facial asymmetry after patient’s contract Bell’s Palsey to dystonia, a neuromuscular disorder of the head and neck, which makes someone involuntarily jolt their head to one side.
And for me, I could not be happier with the results! The Invisalign treatment completed with Dr. Guerrero tucked back my front tooth, but even more exciting, the Botox® calmed my hyperactive upper lip and my smile is natural and symmetrical, without me even having to think about it! Since completing my treatment I have come across many of my patients who, like me, underestimated the uses of Botox®. Through sharing my story I have also found that several of my patients were self-conscious of their own “gummy smile” or a lopsided smile and were simply unaware that there are treatment options available to them.
If you think you may be interested in what our office and Botox® can do for you, just ask!
Schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Guerrero to discuss the cause of your gummy or asymmetrical smile and whether you’re a good candidate for Botox® treatment. For the right patient, this simple, quick procedure can make a world of difference in self-esteem and attitude.