What to know if you’re considering cosmetic injectables to enhance your smile

Get the facts before you take the plunge

Beauty Crew Editor / December 03 2018

It’s pretty clear that we exist in a time that is not short on options for solving our beauty problems and concerns - whether that’s finding the foundation that’ll give a naturally glowing finish or creams and concealers to nix dark under-eye circles (there are even cosmetic treatments to sort out those hollows and shadows). There’s a solution for everything. 

We’re firm believers in doing whatever you feel is right for you and what makes you feel great about yourself. So, if you want to splurge on that luxury fragrance because it brings you confidence and joy, then go on and treat yourself. And if you want to investigate your options for cosmetic injectables for those areas that may bother you, well, we want to ensure you have the right information at your disposal and feel well-equipped with enough knowledge to make that decision. 

While you may already be aware of the ways in which cosmetic injectables can be used to enhance and rejuvenate areas of your face (dermal fillers for plumper lips or fuller cheeks and anti-wrinkle injections for lines are the most commonly known), one of the biggest emerging trends in cosmetic injectables is smile enhancement. This uses muscle relaxant injections (also known as anti-wrinkle injections) and fillers in various ways to achieve things like improved smile symmetry or smoothness, and can even be used to help provide relief for things like teeth grinding and jaw clenching. 

Given the increased interest, we reached out to Dr Kristina Cain, a dentist at Smile Solutions with a special interest in the cosmetic enhancement of facial aesthetics, to help shed some light on how cosmetic injectables play a part in smile enhancement, and what you should know if it’s something you’re seriously considering. 

Why might someone look into cosmetic injectables when it comes to their smile?

We’ll just put it out there that we think no matter what it looks like, if you’re smiling, you look beautiful. BUT, if you have certain qualms or are self-conscious about the shape or appearance of your smile, cosmetic injectables may be able to help. 

According to Dr Cain, the most common concerns that injectables can assist with are your lip proportions, asymmetries, smoker’s and marionette lines, loss of volume, and flattening of the upper lip when smiling (also known as ‘gummy’ smiles). 

How can injectables help?

This depends on what concerns you are looking to address. Dermal fillers can help add volume and structure to the cheeks, lips, chin and other areas of deficiency. For the lip area specifically, they can help to even out lip proportions or enhance the upper lip. 

Muscle relaxants lessen the appearance of lines and wrinkles without affecting the total movement of the face. They can also help a smile look less ‘gummy’. “’Gummy’ smiles can often be addressed with small injections to either side of the nose into a specific muscle, which enables less ‘pull-up’ of the top lip,” says Dr Cain.

Did you know? Muscle relaxant injections can also be used to help alleviate the pain that comes with clenching and grinding your jaw.

How can cosmetic injectables help with grinding or clenching?

Like we said, cosmetic injectables can be used in multiple ways in different facial areas to help add volume or smooth different areas of your face, but when it comes to your mouth area, there’s another benefit. At Smile Solutions they also use muscle relaxant injections to treat the muscles near the jaw joints to help ease concerns like teeth grinding and clenching. 

"Muscle relaxants have traditionally been used for both therapeutic and cosmetic treatments and have been found to be highly effective and a safe way to treat TMJ/TMD [temporomandibular joint] disorders, "says Dr Cain. “This is because the injectable temporarily blocksthe nerve receptors in the muscles, which initiate movement and contractions. Over-active muscle contraction or overuse due to stress and bruxism [grinding or clenching] is a common cause of TMD/TMJ disorder. This is why we recommend muscle relaxants as a way to overcome pain in the jaw. This treatment will weaken the targeted muscles, whilst leaving enough strength for normal use, which means that your chewing and speaking function will not be affected.” 

Why is a dentist a good option for cosmetic injectables treatment?

You’ve probably never thought to go to a dentist for cosmetic injectables, but whether it’s for your smile or another area of concern on your face, it makes a lot of sense given a dentist’s knowledge of facial dimensions and structure and their educational training in anatomy. 

Dentists are highly trained in anatomy and are extremely skilled in the safety and precision with needles when it comes to injecting. At Smile Solutions, the dentists are university-trained and have completed further studies in how to perform cosmetic injectable treatments under the strict regulations of the Dental Board of Australia. They’re also incredibly sensitive to an individual’s needs and operate under clear ethical guidelines.  

Smile Solutions’ treatments are conducted in appropriate and highly sterile clinics offering discretion and safety. They also offer reviews two weeks post-treatment and every treatment has been created specifically for you (so you’re not getting a ‘cookie cutter’ experience). Their practitioners attend regular education courses to upskill and remain current. In addition, practitioners have been fully trained with AADFA (Australasian Academy of Dento-Facial Aesthetics). 

Besides all of that, don’t forget that dentists are also trained in drug interactions, high-risk anatomical areas of the face, and how to deal with any complications that may arise.

So, in a nutshell, they know how to achieve the best results when it comes to your smile (and other areas you may be looking to enhance with dermal fillers or muscle relaxants). 

Smile Solutions also use the latest generation of products that are distributed in Australia, and they comply with all related industry regulations and testing.  

What questions should you ask?

Cosmetic injectables are far more common than they used to be, which is a good thing because you have more options for where to go. But be wary that there is a lot of variation when it comes to skill levels, knowledge, training and experience. It really pays to know what you’re getting into before you commit. 

Dr Cain’s advice is to ask and check the following: “Where did [the clinician or therapist] receive their training? Are they insured? Which products are they using and why? Check that they are giving a comprehensive and multi-faceted examination not just doing a stock standard treatment.”  

What’s involved in the injectables process?

According to Dr Cain, at Smile Solutions that depends on whether you’re taking the muscle relaxant route or opting for fillers. For muscle relaxants, “We will undertake a thorough facial analysis and detailed discussion before proposing an appropriate treatment plan. The actual procedure takes just 5-10 minutes and involves a small number of injections of muscle relaxant solution directly into the muscle groups contributing to your area of concern.” 

When it comes to fillers, “Following a thorough facial analysis and detailed discussion of the proposed treatment plan, the treatment can be started straight away. The gel is injected into the skin in small amounts with a very fine needle or cannula, immediately lifting and smoothing out wrinkles by revolumising the area.” 

Is it painful or uncomfortable?

When needles are involved, it’s safe to say you can expect a little discomfort, but Dr Cain notes that overall, it shouldn’t be too painful. 

“It can be a little uncomfortable, but our practitioners are extra careful, using specialised, gentle injection techniques. The bonus of going to the dentist is that we can provide dental ‘blocks’, which includes the placement of local anaesthetic directly into the nerve at the back of the mouth, allowing the lower region of your mouth and some of the outer face to go numb. This is particularly helpful for filler placement in lips and nasolabial folds. 

Also, topical anaesthetic in combination with local anaesthetic in the filler product alleviates most of the discomfort. [Dermal filler] application is quick and relatively painless – much like having tweezing or waxing, would be my best comparison,” says Dr Cain. 

What about recovery and downtime?

Dr Cain advises there are some things you may need to consider post-treatment. For muscle relaxants, “Clients are advised to stay upright and to try to exercise the areas treated for two to four hours following the injections. It is important to avoid massaging these areas though: this is to prevent the diffusion of solutions to adjacent muscles.” 

For dermal fillers, she advises, “You should not touch the area for at least six hours following treatment. Post-operative instructions will be given to you.” 

How soon after the injections would you see results with your smile?

It depends on which treatment you opt for. If you’ve had muscle relaxants, you may have to exercise patience. Dr Cain explains, “You will be able to return to your normal daily activities immediately following treatment; there will be no visible changes yet. The full effect of the treatment will develop over the following two to 14 days.” With fillers, on the other hand, you’ll notice a change almost immediately after the procedure. 

How long do the results last?

This will vary from person to person. For muscle relaxants, Dr Cain says that “Generally the results last for approximately three months, but it depends on the individual”. As for the fillers, that’s even more dependent on the individual – “It very much depends on factors such as a person’s age and lifestyle, the structure of the skin, and the degree of correction required. Most clients choose to have a repeat treatment within a year. Since the main component of both filler products (hyaluronic acid) is a natural substance, they will dissolve over time,” she says. 

There are also certain things to be aware of in order to ensure you achieve the best results for as long as possible. Dr Cain recommends following post-procedure instructions and staying out of the sun, in addition to using sun protection as much as possible. Positive health habits are also a good idea for optimal results: things like smoking may compromise the longevity of the fillers or muscle relaxants. 

Is there anyone who should avoid cosmetic injectables?

For muscle relaxants, Dr Cain recommends those who are pregnant or breast-feeding avoid the treatment. Same goes for people suffering from neuro-muscular or auto-immune disorders, those with known sensitivities to muscle relaxants (or other constituents), and those who take medications like quinine and aminoglycoside antibiotics. Dr Cain suggests mentioning to your clinician if you take omega-3 and anti-coagulant NSAIDS for bruising, or those who have had facial surgery (such as a face lift), as this may play a part in whether or not you can have the injections. 

When it comes to dermal fillers, again, it’s not a safe option for those pregnant or breast-feeding. Dr Cain says it’s also best to avoid the treatment if you have any known sensitivities to hyaluronic acid fillers, have a history of severe gram-positive bacterial infections, or have the presence of an infection at the site of the injection. It’s also a good idea to let your clinician know if you have any anticoagulant disorders, existing scar tissue or keloid scarring, as this may affect your eligibility. 

How much does it cost?

At Smile Solutions, Dr Cain says you can expect to pay between $300 and $600 for fillers or muscle relaxants, but this depends on a few factors, including how much product is used, the treatment area, and how much correction is required. If you’re looking into cosmetic injectables for TMJ-related treatment, you can expect to pay between $800 and $900. 

Do you have more questions about cosmetic injectables and your smile? Get in touch with the experts at Smile Solutions on 13 13 96, or online at www.smilesolutions.com.au.

Do you have any cosmetic injectable questions? Please share with us in the comments section below

Main image credit: Getty

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.