History of BTX

Justinus Kerner (1786-1862), a German physician, developed the first concepts associated with the therapeutic use of the botulinum toxin. He deduced that the toxin acted by interrupting signal transmission within the peripheral sympathetic nervous system, leaving sensory transmission intact. He called this toxin the ‘sausage poison’ because it was observed that the ingestion of spoiled sausage would cause the person to become ill. In 1870, John Muller, another German physician, called the toxin ‘botulism’ - from the Latin root botulus, which means ‘sausage.’ In 1949, the Burgen group discovered the toxin was able to block neuromuscular transmission.3 The first human use of BTX was performed in 1977 by Alan B. Scott as a treatment for strabismus, a condition where the eyes appear to be looking in different directions. In 1989, BTX (as Botox®) was approved by the FDA and is routinely used for smoothing facial wrinkles and frown lines between the eyes.1,3 In 1999, Howard Katz, DDS created the original protocols for the use of Botox® in dentistry as a treatment for TMJ disorders resulting from excessive bruxism. It is estimated that up to 16% of dentists in North American use BTX in their practices for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes.8 BTX treatments are the most common minimally invasive cosmetic procedure performed in North America. Women account for over 90% of the procedures performed.1