When a person's smile displays more gum line than teeth, that person is said to have a "gummy smile." It's not a flattering statement and merely heightens the individual's feelings of self-consciousness.
Many Causes, Many Fixes
The gummy smile is caused when the gum line is out of proportion to the teeth. The teeth usually appear shorter in relation to the gum line. Its appearance can also coincide with an upper lip that tends to be higher than normal, displaying more gum line. A congenitally protruding upper jaw bone is another cause of gummy smile.
In severe cases of gummy smile, surgery is often the best and only permanent solution. There are several surgeries to choose from, including gum lift surgery; lip tacking, to prevent the abnormal elevation of the upper lip; lip lengthening to cover up the gummy smile; or crown lengthening surgery. The latter option works best when the roots of the teeth are long enough to perform the surgery.
Smile, it's Botox
Fortunately for many people with a gummy smile, there are less invasive elective procedures when the problem is less severe to moderate. Botox is a surprisingly versatile injectable used to treat fine lines and facial wrinkles and smooth brow lines. It's also finding much wider medical use in the treatment of migraines, back pain, and other chronic ailments.
When Botox is injected into the lift muscles by the nose, the muscles are "frozen," so that there is much less lip lift responsible for the gummy smile. Botox is not a permanent fix, however, and injections have to be repeated if the effect is to last.
Professional Consultation is Key
Consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon can determine if Botox will help your gummy smile or if other treatments are necessary. An informed approach yields optimal results, and that's something to smile about.
Dr. George Bitar is a board certified plastic surgeon located in northern Virginia with offices located at the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute, 3023 Hamaker Court, Suite 109, Fairfax, Virginia, and Prince William Hospital Health Center, 8650 Sudley Road, Suite 203, Manassas, Virginia. Call (703) 206-0506 for a private consultation.
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