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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.
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.
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.
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.
Disclaimer: These articles, and any views and opinions expressed, are not endorsed by Raskel Medical. The articles are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered medical advice. Raskel Medical does not check or edit the content of these articles for medical accuracy. Contact your medical practitioner for any medical advice needed.