What is a gummy smile?
A ‘gummy smile’ is a smile where you show more gum area than usual.
Dentists and cosmetic clinicians around the world use the smile line to assess the aesthetic appearance of a smile. This tool can be used as a universal standard as both clinicians and lay people have similar preferences when using it to judge smile aesthetics.
Technically, the smile line is the invisible line that connects the incisal edges of the anterior teeth when you smile. Think of it as a virtual line that runs from one end of your teeth to another; as the smile expands, the teeth are exposed.
There are three kinds of smile lines: high smile line, average smile line and low smile line. In the case of people with gummy smiles, their smile lines are high, revealing more gum area.
How much is too much gum? As a rule of thumb, anything above two millimetres is regarded as a high smile line. Most clinicians regard an average smile line as the most ‘ideal’ where the anterior teeth follow the upper border of the lower lip in an almost parallel manner.
However, it’s important to note that this idea of ‘ideal’ and ‘attractiveness’ is a very personal choice.
Do I need to fix my gummy smile?
Many celebrities have gummy smiles. Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Natalie Portman to name a few, not to mention a number of K-Pop personalities.
Gummy smiles can actually look quite cute but for some people, it can be a source of distress. Do you dread being in photos and try to smile with your mouth closed? Do you feel very self-conscious at parties or public events?
If having a gummy smile is affecting your confidence and self esteem, there are a few options you can consider. Some solutions require surgery at a dental practice. Others may be a quick-fix and can be performed at a skin clinic or laser clinic like Clinica Lase.
The first step is to find the cause of your gummy smile. Once you know why you have a gummy smile, it is easier for you to figure out which solution will suit you best.
What is the cause of a gummy smile?
Technically called excessive gingival display, a gummy smile simply means that you have more than two millimetres of gum showing above your teeth.
The causes of gummy smiles are usually genetic, but it can be caused by a variety of factors. One of the most common is an overgrowth of gum tissue or gingival hypertrophy, which means your gums cover more enamel than normal and make your teeth look shorter.
Other reasons could be that your teeth are just smaller than your gums, or having a hyperactive upper lip where your lip curls too much when you smile and exposes more of the gums.
Sometimes, it could be the position of your jaw bone. If your upper jaw juts out, it can look like you have buck teeth and too much gum is revealed.
Because of all these varying factors, it is best to consult a skilled professional to determine which treatment option is best for you. Generally, if the cause of your gummy smile is related to your teeth, gum health or jaw bone, a dentist would be the best person to help you. If your gummy smile is caused by excessive gum tissue or hyperactive lip muscles, we may be able to help.
How do I get rid of a gummy smile?
Surgical gummy smile corrections used to be the only avenue for people wanting to fix their gummy smiles. These gummy smile treatments are performed by dentists or maxillofacial surgeons where they cut out the excess gum tissue in a procedure called a gingivectomy. Some cases may require the dental surgeon to lengthen or reposition the teeth using braces or a splint.
In more serious cases such as jaw protrusions, the dentist might need to operate on the jaw bone to correct the protrusion causing the gummy smile.
These days however, more and more people are turning to non-surgical procedures such as using Botox to get rid of their gummy smiles.
Fix a gummy smile with anti-wrinkle injections
You may have heard of Botox being used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. But did you know Botox can also fix a gummy smile?
If your gummy smile is caused by overactive muscles around the upper lip, this could be the ideal treatment for you.
Studies show that using anti-wrinkle injection treatments to correct a gummy smile is safe and effective with high patient satisfaction. You can see results in 48 hours or within 2 weeks, and the effects can last for up to 12 months.
How does it work?
Anti-wrinkle injections relax your facial muscles. So to treat a hyperactive upper lip, we identify the correct muscle to treat (usually near the nose) and use the anti-wrinkle injection to relax that muscle and reduce its ability to pull up your lip excessively.
Depending on which muscle is treated, the treatment can be as simple as two tiny pricks on each side of your face with the smallest amount of anti-wrinkle injection.
For this type of treatment, there is hardly any recovery time. Many people go back to their work or normal activities right after. Some people even combine this type of gummy smile correction with their ‘lunch time’ lip injections.
At Clinica Lase, we will often start you with the smallest dose possible. After two weeks, we will review the effects on your lips and add another dose – but only if required.
What we find is that it doesn’t take much to correct a gummy smile. Adjusting the lip position by just one or two millimetres can make all the difference and may be all you need to get that perfect smile.
Gummy smile treatment with lip fillers
Many of our clients get lip fillers to increase the volume of their lips and it is one of the most popular treatments in the beauty industry.
If you have a gummy smile, we can use this method to thicken your lips and enhance the symmetry of your lip to reduce ‘gumminess’. The lip filler injection usually takes about ten minutes and can last between six months to a year. You might experience some swelling within the first 24 hours but it usually settles very quickly.
Ask us about non-surgical gummy smile treatments
Correcting a gummy smile with surgery is a more permanent treatment. But using non-surgical methods like anti-wrinkle injections or dermal fillers are becoming increasingly popular due to its safety and minimal recovery time.
You may have to repeat the treatments every 12 weeks or so but many people find it worth it. The amount of injection or filler used is minimal, so the cost is comparatively low. It’s not unlike popping in for your regular manicure, eyelash extension or oxygen facial.
As one of Melbourne’s leading skin clinics and laser experts, your safety is our priority. If a gummy smile is bothering you, book a consultation with one of our dedicated therapists today. Contact Clinica Lase today.