What Is Botox?

Botox is an injectable medication that temporarily immobilizes muscles by blocking local nerve signals. By targeting select muscle groups, experienced physicians can use Botox injections to smooth away facial lines and wrinkles, which are caused by muscle movement.

While most people have heard about the cosmetic uses of Botox, not everyone knows that the treatment also has a wide range of medical applications.

What Problems Can I Fix With Botox?

Because of Botox’s ability to target and immobilize specific muscles, it’s an excellent option for conditions caused by muscle movement or overactive muscles. Reducing wrinkles to provide a more youthful appearance and controlling jaw/ear pain are two of the most popular uses of Botox for our patients.

Medical Uses of Botox

Doctors use Botox to treat a range of medical conditions. As ENTs, we primarily use Botox to treat issues associated with the temporomandibular joint syndrome, commonly called TMJ.

Essentially, TMJ is mini-arthritis or inflammation in the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. It’s a little like having tennis elbow in a joint you use all day, every day.

Botox’s unique ability to weaken muscle movement makes it an excellent treatment option for TMJ. By gently injecting Botox into the large, strong chewing muscle (the masseter), we temporarily weaken that muscle’s pull on the jaw, giving the distressed joint a chance to heal. Botox injections can help relieve:

  • Jaw tension
  • Jaw pain and soreness
  • Jaw or ear pressure or fullness
  • Teeth grinding and associated headaches
  • Locking jaw

Cosmetic Uses of Botox

Youthful skin has an amazing ability to spring back into place. As skin ages, however, it loses elasticity, density, and moisture, making it more susceptible to creasing and wrinkling from muscle movement.

Botox allows patients to subtly smooth away specific facial lines without drastically changing their appearance. Botox injections can:

  • Eliminate forehead lines
  • Smooth crow’s feet Erase “11 lines” between the eyebrows
  • Remove bunny lines on the nose
  • Soften under-eye wrinkles
  • Flip up the upper lip for fullness

A skilled and experienced ENT knows precisely which muscles to target to achieve a natural, more youthful look.

Botox FAQs

Q: Will Botox fix the problem I have?


Every person is unique, so we start with an initial consult for each patient. After evaluating your situation and goals, we advise you on whether Botox is a good option for you, or if another solution would be a better fit.

Q: How long does Botox last? How often should I get it touched up?


The effects of Botox last about three or four months. During that time your body slowly metabolizes the Botox, eventually allowing your muscles to move freely again.

If you want to maintain the effects of your Botox injections, it’s best to keep a consistent treatment schedule. After one to two years of regular treatment, you may be able to wait longer between injections as the treated muscles weaken.

Q: What’s the difference between Dysport and Botox?


“Botox” and “Dysport” are two proprietary brand names for slightly different versions of the same type of medication. Both are FDA-approved neuromodulators that immobilize muscles to treat various cosmetic and medical conditions.

Botox has been around longer than Dysport and has become the general term most people use to refer to this type of treatment. The results of Dysport typically appear a few days sooner than those of Botox, but Botox offers greater treatment precision and more FDA-approved uses.

Q: Do I need to go to a doctor for Botox?


While only medical professionals can legally administer Botox injections, not all states require a physician to do it. However, to get the best results in the safest setting, we recommend seeking an experienced physician for several reasons.

It’s critical for your Botox provider to be experienced with the nuances of human facial anatomy so they can identify which muscles to target and how much Botox to use. An inexperienced provider may also have trouble accurately diagnosing your problem or may try to treat an issue that isn’t treatable with Botox.

When considering a Botox provider, ask them about:

  • Their experience and credentials
  • Whether their previous patients come back for continued treatment
  • Their ability to address unexpected outcomes
  • What results you can reasonably expect

Additional Resources


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