What is a Gummy Smile?
Smiling is a universal language. Smiling warms our own hearts and those around us. Smiling often commonly exposes a small portion of the gums above the teeth. However, for people with gummy smile (or excessive gingival display) the gums stand out more, often causing them to feel self-conscious and they may avoid big smiles, or cover their mouths when smiling, taking away from the joy of the moment. This condition is most commonly caused by hyperactive upper lip muscles excessively elevating the lip. A thin upper lip may further contribute to the problem by exposing the upper gum even more. Shape and size of teeth, as well as the positioning of the jaw, can be additional factors.
What can be done to fix a Gummy Smile?
Fortunately, a gummy smile can almost always be corrected using botulinum toxin injections (also referred to as neuromodulators). At Angell Medical Spa we offer Botox®, as well as Dysport®. These are both neuromodulators that act to prevent contraction of muscles. The most common use for these neuromodulators are for wrinkle reduction, but they have many other beneficial uses including for gummy smile correction, migraines, jaw clenching, and even excessive sweating.
How does Botox® work and what alternatives are available?
Botox® treatment for gummy smile correction is a highly effective, affordable, safe and non-invasive option for patients’. Tiny injections of neuromodulator above the upper lip work to reduce muscle activity of the lip elevator muscles, softening the pull of the upper lip above the gum line. The result effectively reduces the exposure of the upper gums upon smiling. For patients with a very thin upper lip dermal fillers may also be suggested.
Surgery is an option, but only a minority of patients with a gummy smile have anatomy that requires this. Surgical options include gingivectomy, where a portion of the gum tissue is surgically removed, and rarely, orthognathic surgery to reposition the jaw. This can be a good option for people that don’t necessarily have complicated anatomy contributing to the problem but might want a more permanent solution.
Prior to Botox® treatment, we evaluate your anatomy and movement with you relaxed and then making facial expressions, including smiling. We will determine the proper location and dose for the Botox® injections. We offer complimentary consultations to answer all of your questions and determine the best treatment for you.
While most patients are excellent candidates for this simple procedure, if it appears that you would benefit from evaluation by an oromaxillofacial surgeon we will provide a referral.
Most patients require just two injections of Botox® to each side above the lip.
Botox® injections may feel like a tiny pinch, but are not generally considered painful.
The injections take about 1 minute to perform.
As with other Botox® treatments, there is no significant recovery time after treatment of a gummy smile. You may have a tiny red bump, like a mosquito bite. This generally goes away within minutes. Rarely, a small bruise may occur.
We recommend not lying down, exercising or touching the treated area for 4 hours after Botox® injections.
As with other Botox® injections, results come on gradually and usually are apparent in 3-4 days with maximum effect in 7-14 days. Dysport® tends to take effect quicker with visible results in 1-3 days and full effect within 7 days.
Botox® and Dysport® both last on average 3-4 months, so to maintain results, you will need to come in for touch-ups a few times a year.
Rarely, Botox® or Dysport® injections can produce an overtreatment or an uneven appearance. It is important to choose an injector carefully to limit the risks of this.
A smile plays a pivotal role in feeling and expressing happiness, which may be hindered for people with a gummy smile. With Botox® treatment of your gummy smile, you’ll end up with a brighter and more confident smile, while still keeping your natural look.
*results may vary