Gummy Smile

WHAT IS GUMMY SMILE?

A person is thought to have an attractive smile when their top lip raises to display all of their front teeth and possibly a small amount of gum. Gummy Smile or Excessive Gingival (Gum) Display, is a term used when a larger than normal amount of gum tissue is exposed during smiling, which can be unsightly. The condition can be the result of several things and it is vital that you consult your dentist, who may need to perform various tests and take x-rays, to determine the nature of your Gummy Smile before undergoing any treatment.

HOW CAN IT BE TREATED?

There are several options to consider for the treatment of your Gummy Smile and these should be discussed in consultation with your dentist as they are the only people qualified to assess all aspects of Gummy Smile and help you determine the most appropriate choice for your individual circumstances. Available treatment options address different aspects of the condition depending on the cause and they vary in cost, complexity and the expected results, including how long they last and potential complications.

Options include:

  • Surgical alteration of the jaw bone
  • Orthodontics (braces)
  • Laser or surgical resculpting of the gums
  • Reshaping of gums  and placing cosmetic restorations (crowns or veneers)
  • Muscle relaxer injections

WHAT IS A Muscle RElaxER INjection?

There are various brands of muscle relaxer injections, they all contain the active ingredient, Botulinum Toxin A.  These medications are sterile, pharmaceutical-grade proteins that target part of the mechanism involved in muscle contraction. When these medications are administered to a target muscle, the ability of that muscle to contract with the same strength is reduced. The higher the dose of medication, the greater the reduction in the ability of the muscle to contract and the more relaxed it becomes. While the medication is eliminated from your body rapidly, the effect will last from several weeks to several months depending on the circumstances. After this time, the effects will completely wear off and the muscle will regain the ability to function as normal.

HOW DO muscle relXER INJECTIONS WORK FOR GUMMY SMILE?

After diagnosing that your Gummy Smile has a component that is related to muscle activity, your Dentist will determine the dose of medication required depending on the severity of the condition. The medication is administered by two injections – one either side of the nose. These injections are specifically chosen to target the muscles that control the movement of your upper lip. By reducing the ability of these muscles to contract, the upper lip relaxes, lengthens and covers the excessive gum displayed when smiling.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER THE TREATMENT?

Many patients report that the injections do “sting” while the medication is being administered, however this only lasts a few seconds. Immediately after treatment, the area may be red, bleed briefly and you may experience a slight tingle or itch for a few minutes before feeling completely normal. It is very important that you do not rub or manipulate the area of injection for at least 4 hours. You will not see a change in your smile for at least a few days as the medication does not work immediately and full results may not be seen for up to two weeks. For this reason you should schedule a review appointment with your Dentist two weeks after receiving treatment, at which time a further dose maybe required depending on results achieved.

ARE THERE ANY POTENTIAL PROBLEMS?

Thankfully these medications have been shown to be very reliable and safe, yet all medications do have the potential to cause unwanted side effects/complications and you should discuss these with your dentist. Rest assured that your dentist will conduct a thorough review of your health and medical history prior to delivering treatment to ensure that you are safe to receive this medication and unlikely to encounter problems. While problems are rare, the most common issues come from the injection process rather than the medication and can include redness, swelling, itching, bruising, bleeding and skin infection. The medication may affect a muscle that it was not intended to, or it may cause excessive relaxation of the target muscles. If this occurs then it is possible that the appearance of your smile, function/movement of your mouth and how you eat/speak may be affected. While exceptionally rare, life-threatening allergic reactions and problems with other parts of the body are possible. Some people have also reported a general feeling of tiredness or “flu-like symptoms”, including a headache, after receiving treatment.

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