Botox for a Gummy Smile

  • The condition known as “gummy smile,” when a person’s smile reveals far more of the gums than is considered attractive. 
  • A lot of things may cause the condition:  small teeth, too much gum tissue, and a thin upper lip can each be a cause. In all cases of gummy smile, genes are at fault.
  • The rule of thumb when smiling is two millimeters of gum showing is ideal. Anything over three to four millimeters of gum showing starts to look ‘gummy’.
  • About 7% of men and 14% of women have this type of smile.
  • Cosmetic surgery; either a crown lengthening procedure, which takes away gum tissue, or severing certain muscles that lift the upper lip, so that it reveals less of the gums; was the only option previously. This can be very expensive and painful.
  • In certain circumstances Botox can now be used to fix gummy smile. It only works if the lip is the problem. If the bone is the issue, then orthognathic surgery is still required to fix it and the simpler Botox treatment can’t help.
  • If an upper lip that is thin is a contributing factor in the appearance of a gummy smile, a combination treatment of fillers to the lips and Botox may be suggested by Dr. Kelleher.

This treatment is ideal for people with high smile lines and short upper lips who wish to show a little less of their gums (but still show their teeth) when they smile. It is a simple and minimal treatment with botulinum toxin to relax the upper lip slightly, thus reducing the amount of gum show at smile. The lower lip can also be treated, though this is a less common problem area.

While for most people smiling is an expression of happiness, individuals whose gums stand out more than their smile does often feel self-conscious. Very often those with gummy smiles try to control and minimize their smile and some feel so self-conscious that they prefer not to smile at all.   This may have a detrimental effect on one's professional, social, and personal relationships.

For more technical information on Gummy Smiles and what to expect when you have a treatment with LK Aesthetics - see our What To Expect - Gummy Smiles section