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 matters is whether you feel self-conscious about your gums when you smile.
What causes a Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile is due to a range of things, such as the position and shape of the teeth, the underlying bone structure, the gums, a short upper lip and overactivity of the muscles that lift the lip and create your smile.
One of the commonest causes of a gummy smile is overactive/hyperactive upper lip elevator muscles. When these muscles work too well they reveal too much gum tissue on smiling.
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.
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 using Botox for the treatment of gummy smiles due to overactive muscles since 2007. The treatment is safe and effective in her experienced hands, 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?
You will require a consultation first to assess your smile and if you are suitable for treatment.
At your first treatment session, Dr Teri injects a small amount of Botulinum Toxin on both sides of the nostril to weaken the upper lip elevator muscles. The effect usualy starts 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 assess 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 that 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.
How long do the results last?
The results from Botox for a gummy smile can last anything from 8 weeks to 6 months. This 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 overactive muscles start to reduce. Also, you can get out of the habit of overusing these muscles, so they become less hyperactive.
Most people have a repeat treatment every 3-6 months.
Are there any risks from a gummy treatment?
Sometimes the effect may work 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: