Dermal Fillers 101: What They Are and How They Work


The term “dermal fillers” might be a term you’ve heard of through commercials or from friends and family who’ve received them, but you still aren’t entirely sure what they are. Maybe you’ve been thinking about treating yourself to a cosmetic procedure that helps you look rejuvenated and more well-rested, but are put off by the cost and permanence of surgery. In that case, dermal fillers might be the best fit for you.

This popular cosmetic treatment has gained ground in recent years due to its effectiveness in reducing the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet, and wrinkles. It’s also fast and affordable, not to mention much less painful than a face lift. Keep reading to get the facts on dermal fillers, so you can decide if they’re right for you.

What are they made of?

Different fillers are composed of different solutions, though their basic process is the same. Juvéderm®, one of the most widely used brands, has hyaluronic acid as the primary ingredient in their gel filler. Other types of fillers include collagen and biosynthetic polymers (a combination of different ingredients, including lidocaine, an anesthetic to reduce pain).

How do they work?

Fillers work beneath the skin to add volume where your skin needs it, particularly in creases and places where elasticity has been lost over time or on account of other factors, like lifestyle, environment, or sickness. When the gel settles into those places, they help to smooth out the look of the skin on the surface.

What do they treat best?

Some medical professionals prefer one type of filler over another for various reasons. Brands like Juvéderm® offer separate products to work more effectively in different parts of the face. For example, Juvéderm® XC is used to target lines around the nose and mouth, which also helps to make the lips look fuller. Their VOLUMA XC treatment is best for plumping up cheeks where they’ve suffered volume loss and sagging.

How soon will results be visible?

Unlike with similarly administered treatments, like Botox, dermal filler results are immediately visible, though they will usually look their best a couple of weeks after treatment. The plumping and smoothing effect will remain for nine months to a year, until the solution is broken down and absorbed by your body.

How is it administered?

Dermal fillers are given through several small injections throughout the face, targeting areas where it will do the most good, particularly around the mouth and eyes. If you’re afraid of needles, this might not sound like the ideal treatment, but at the very least, it’s fast. Many people are able to undergo the procedure during their lunch breaks, going back to work directly afterward without any problems.

Is it safe?

As with any treatment of this type, there’s the possibility of allergic reaction and unforeseen effects. It’s best to talk with a medical professional who has experience with the product to find out whether it’s a good option for you. Chances of a negative reaction are low in general, and dermal fillers are well documented to be safe for use so long as the person delivering the injections is properly trained and the product is of standardized quality.

But why is my dentist offering this service?

It might seem strange, as this type of treatment sounds like it would be better suited for a dermatologist or esthetician, but dentists have the ideal combination of education, experience, and familiarity with facial anatomy to administer dermal fillers. That’s why you might see this service increasingly offered by dentists in addition to other cosmetic procedures, like teeth whitening.

My Family Dentistry offers both dermal fillers and Botox for both cosmetic and medical treatments. Dr. Mullins is expertly trained and qualified to administer this popular option for patients who want to look their best. Contact us to learn more about our services, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for announcements on events, seminars, and treatments.

Discover the dentistry
that you deserve!

Request An Appointment