get rid of gummy smile

What is gummy smile?

Dental professionals refer to gummy smile as “excessive gingival display.” Patients are diagnosed with this condition if more than 2mm of gum tissue is exposed when they smile. Patients with this orthodontic disorder may notice that their upper teeth appear too short as the pinkish gum tissues are very prominent. Though gummy smile is usually harmless, excessive gingival displays may negatively impact an individual’s self-esteem.

If a gummy smile is caused by an abnormally developed jaw or irregular eruption of teeth, then patients may also experience an improper bite. Most of the time, a gummy smile is a result of a high lip line. The average lip line should show only the teeth in the upper jaw as well as some of the gum that extends towards the teeth. But, a high lip line simply means that the upper lip is hyperactive and moves higher than normal when smiling, exposing the upper teeth as well as a considerable amount of gum tissue.

Suggested botulinum toxin treatment

Gummy smile could be treated using various techniques such as laser treatment or surgical lip repositioning. Some patients may also opt for braces to help align the teeth. These methods, though are highly effective, can be quite costly and invasive with prolonged downtime. Recently, gummy smile has been found to be effectively corrected using botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin is a type of muscle relaxing toxin that is isolated from Clostridium botulinum bacteria. It has been in use since the 1970s for the treatment of numerous conditions associated with pain and excessive muscle contraction. A popular brand of botulinum toxin is Botox.

This product contains botulinum toxin type A and excipients (e.g. human albumin and sodium chloride). The vacuum-dried, toxin powder must be reconstituted with sterile, preservative-free saline solution before it can be injected into the muscles that are responsible for lifting the upper lip when smiling (levator labii superioris, levator labii superioris alaeque nasi, levator anguli oris, and the zygomaticus muscles). The entire procedure can be completed within 30 minutes with minimal downtime. The effects of the botulinum toxin injections could last for approximately 4 to 8 months depending on a patient’s health status, lifestyle habits, and the effectiveness of the treatment.

Gummy smile correction cost

Surgery to treat gummy smile could cost patients around $15,000, which is also invasive and painful. Botulinum toxin injections, on the other hand, cost roughly $300.

Upper/lower lip surgery for gummy smile

Besides botulinum toxin injections, patients with a gummy smile can also be treated using a simple surgical procedure known as lip repositioning. This procedure involves restricting the muscle pull of the elevator lip muscles which will then reduce the display of gingival tissues while smiling. This minor surgery is safe and predictable with minimal risks or side effects and typically takes about 30 to 45 minutes to be completed. Patients often opt for Botox, as the temporary solution is minimally invasive and requires no downtime.

What to except before, during, and after treatment with Botox?

  • Pretreatment: Before the procedure, licensed and experienced doctors must conduct a full medical checkup on their patients. Information about the patient’s health status (e.g. underlying diseases, medication and supplements taken, etc.) is vital for determining the best treatment plan for them. Besides that, the patient’s smile and the amount of exposed gingival tissues should also be evaluated to gauge the degree of correction needed. This session is also reserved for explaining in detail about the chosen method of treatment as well as the possible risks, side effects, and complications faced. Once the patients are deemed ready and suitable, a date for the procedure will be set.
  • During treatment: The treatment is started by cleaning and sanitizing the areas affected. Doctors will also administer adequate local anesthetic for a pain-free and comfortable procedure. Treatment using botulinum toxin injections requires reconstitution of the toxin powder with sterile, preservative-free saline solution. The prepared muscle-relaxing solution can then be injected into the hyperactive muscles.
  • Post-treatment: Patients who are injected with botulinum toxin should observe improvements within 1 to 2 weeks.

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