Gummy Smile Treatment


What is a Gummy Smile?

Gummy smile is the term used when someone smiles and the gums above the upper teeth become visible.


How much gum should be visible for a smile to be labelled as gummy?

There is no official definition.

Around 14% of people suffer from a gummy smile. It has been said that for a perfect smile, the lip should sit just above the top of the teeth. Some research has been performed which concluded that if two millimetres or less of gum tissue is showing, then a smile looks normal. However, if four or more millimetres of gum is visible the smile appears more gummy.

What really matters is whether you feel self-conscious about your gums when you smile.


What causes a Gummy Smile?

A gummy smile is due to various things; from problems with the teeth, your bone structure, your gums, a short upper lip and overactivity of the muscles that create your smile.

It the upper lip elevator muscles, that lift the upper lip up are overactive/hyperactive, they reveal too much gum tissue on smiling. This is one of the most common causes of a gummy smile.


How can I treat my Gummy Smile?

Treatment will depend on the cause of the problem, so gingivectomy or oral surgery may be necessary in some cases. However, if the problem is due to hyperactivity of the upper lip elevator muscles, a gummy smile can be simply and effectively treated with Botulinum Toxin (commonly known as Botox) injections to reduce this.

Dr Teri has been treating these overactive muscles with Botox since 2007, so has years of experience. It is a safe and effective procedure, so if you feel self-conscious about your gums when you smile, she may be able to help.


What does a Botox Gummy Smile Treatment involve?

At your first treatment session, Dr Teri injects a small amount of Botulinum Toxin both sides of the nostril to weaken the upper lip elevator muscles. The effect can normally start to show after a few days however the full result takes up to 2 weeks.

If it is your first treatment she will then assess you in a review appointment after 2-3 weeks. Dr Teri will take photos to asses the success of the treatment and make further adjustments if necessary.

Some people respond to a small amount of treatment, however, others may need higher doses to achieve a similar result. Each person’s treatment is different and some people may need two or even three adjustments to achieve optimum results. Once the desired results are achieved Dr Teri creates a personal treatment plan for you, so she can replicate the results, the next time you need treatment.

You will be advised to keep the target muscles active for a few hours immediately after treatment.

You can view Dr Teri’s Botox Pre-treatment and after treatment advice here. 


How long do the results last?

Botox in this area can last anything from 8 weeks to 6 months, depending on the individual’s response. If you have the treatment a few times it often lasts longer as the size and strength of the treated overactive muscles starts to reduce. Also, you can get out of the habit of overusing these muscles so they stop being as hyperactive.

Most people have a repeat treatment every 3-6 months.


Are there any risks to this treatment?

Sometimes the effect may take better on one side than the other leading to slight asymmetry. A touch-up treatment at the 2-3 week check up can correct this.

All Botulinum Toxin treatments may cause a weakening effect of other small facial muscles close to the area treated. This can lead to temporary asymmetry. In most cases, this can be corrected at the check-up appointment. In rare cases, one will have to wait until the Botulinum Toxin has worn off.


View some images before and after a Gummy Smile Botox Treatment:

before and after botox treatment for gummy smile