We have all seen at least one “gummy smile” in our lifetime, some of us when we catch our own reflection. When we visualize the most attractive smile, there is proportion to teeth, lips, gums, and nearby structures. The attribute of proportion is something the brain notices, though we may not be conscious of it until we notice that a smile looks a little “off.”
In studies on smile aesthetics, participants evaluated images of many different smiles. What was discovered through this research was that an adverse reaction occurred when three millimeters or more of gum tissue was visible in the smile. Typically, we want visible gum tissue to remain at two millimeters or less.
Men and women who show too much pink when they smile may feel embarrassed about their aesthetic. New habits may be formed in order to try to smile a little smaller or to hide the smile altogether. Rather than feel dissatisfied with a gummy smile, patients may visit their dentist to address this concern. Individuals who have done so report feeling new confidence when they smile and satisfaction over the complements they receive.
There are a number of reasons for excessive gum tissue in the smile. It is possible that teeth are shorter in relation to gum tissue, or gum tissue is longer in relation to teeth. In some cases, the problem is that the upper lip is extraordinarily short. What these causes have in common is that they are genetic.
It is thought that millions of people are dissatisfied in their gummy smile, but the number of treatments performed is still rather low. Researchers believe this to be related to the fact that most people are likely unaware that treatment exists at all.
Treating the gummy smile
In fact, treatments to improve the look of the smile have existed for decades. Typically, the gummy smile has been corrected with crown lengthening or with surgery that minimizes the lifting capabilities of the upper lip. The surgical solution could be risky due to the fact that muscles controlling the upper lip were actually severed. Today, we have whole new option in the treatment of the gummy smile.
Botox spreads its wings
Most of us have heard of Botox, the miracle anti-aging injectable medication. Botox and another neuromodulator, Dysport, is offered by most dermatologists and also by dentists who have been specifically trained in its application. One of the off-label uses of these medications recently discovered is their ability to improve the smile aesthetic in some cases of a gummy smile. Efficacy of this use was published in the March 2014 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. The favorable reviews of Botox or Dysport for the gummy smile further supported a previous study report published in the Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.
This type of minimally invasive approach to the gummy smile is the treatment of choice for many patients. It is a minimally invasive treatment that takes only a few minutes to complete. The effects of neuromodulators progress over the first week after injections, and last about four months at a time. Due to the affordable cost of Botox or Dysport treatments and the safety of this type of medication, this form of treatment for the gummy smile is gaining all the right attention.
To learn more about improving the look of your smile, contact us today on 209-751-4292
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