How Botox Injections Fix a Gummy Smile, The Complete Guide

Botox for Treating Gummy Smile

First of all, I’m happy that you smile often. Because you need to be a happy person to realize you have a gummy smile. Second of all, keep it up because Botox can fix your gummy smile. Your smile plays an important role in making a good first impression. And a gummy smile may limit your ability to express your emotions freely. It may also hurt your self-confidence.

If you’re self-conscious about showing too much gum, and you tend to cover up your mouth when you laugh, I’ve got some good news. Besides its ability to treat fine lines, wrinkles, a square jawline, Botox is incredibly helpful in treating gummy smile. As I always say, diamonds are not a girl’s best friend, Botox is!

And I’ve covered everything there’s to know about getting rid of a gummy smile using Botox. But before we begin, keep in mind that I’m not an injector and I’m not qualified to give any professional advice on this topic. But I do love injectables. And I love the fact that we can utilize Botox in several ways to treat several aesthetic concerns without the cost or downtime.

I like to spread the word by referring to available literature and quoting plastic surgeons. So this is to give you a general idea, from a non-professional perspective, about how things work, what you can expect, and if you’re eligible for it. Don’t forget that you’ll find the best information for your own unique needs if you consult a reliable professional.

What’s a Gummy Smile?

What Is A Gummy Smile - Botox For Gummy Smile

A gummy smile refers to a smile where there’s an excessive display of the upper gum, aka gingival tissue (1). The upper lip is not able to cover up the large gum tissue.

In most cases, people are unhappy about the gum on top of the upper frontal teeth. And in some cases, it’s an issue for the whole upper frontal teeth, including the upper molars in the back.

On a side note, a gummy smile is more common among young people. As you get older, the muscles pull down naturally. So it usually stops being an issue as you age.

What Are The Causes of a Gummy Smile?

Even though it sounds like the problem is having too much gum, it’s not that simple. To treat a gummy smile with Botox or any other option, there are other factors to consider. Your lips and your teeth have a lot to do with your smile too.

You may have an upper lip muscle that’s hyperactive and elevates too much when you smile. In some cases, the muscle on one side can be more active than the other one. In that case, it’ll give you a crooked smile beside a gummy one.

You may also have short teeth that cause excessive gum display (2). Additionally, a gummy smile can also be related to the positioning of the upper jaw. And sometimes, simply having thin lips can be the cause.

Who Is and Isn’t Eligible for Gummy Smile Botox?

You can use Botox injections when the reason for the gummy smile is the hyperactive upper lip muscles. If your gummy smile is caused by dental issues, Botox will not be enough to give you an aesthetic result.

For that one, the solution is usually getting rid of the gum tissue. In those cases, Botox can also be used as a complementary treatment to get the best results.

How Does Botox Fix a Gummy Smile?

As a neurotoxin, Botox simply numbs the muscles and inhibits their movement. Wherever you inject it, Botox isolates that muscle and relaxes it. With that, the muscle is no longer able to contract or move as much.

When treating a gummy smile, Botox is injected into the muscles on each side of the upper lip. That way, the upper lip isn’t able to lift up as much.

And with the limited elevation of the upper lip, your gums don’t show when you smile. That’s how Botox is used to fix a gummy smile.

Where Do They Inject Botox?

This section doesn’t really concern us as much. If your doctor is a professional, they’ll know what to do. But if you’re like me and into the nitty-gritty aspect of it, this is roughly how things go.

There are 2 major muscles that are injected with Botox to get rid of the gummy smile (3).

Botox For Gummy Smile - Where To Inject Botox For Gummy Smile
  1. Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi: Roughly translates to “lip elevators on the side of the nose”. These muscles go down on the sides of the nose towards the upper lip. They are the muscles that lift up your lip too high, giving you a gummy smile.
  2. Zygomaticus major muscle: These muscles start from the corners of the mouth and spread out. They pull the lips to the side and back, exposing the gum on the back of the mouth.

These muscles are taken into account. However, it doesn’t mean that you need injections on all of them. Because it depends a lot on your own unique facial features and the strength of the upper lip muscle.

Having said that, your doctor will be more likely to play safe to avoid pulling your lips too low. That’s why two injections on both sides of the cupid’s bow are the most common injection sites for a gummy smile.

This is where all the muscles kind of overlap. So, you induce a cumulative reaction by slightly touching each of the responsible areas. The opposite would be going hard on one muscle, which might actually limit your mouth’s functionality.

How Does the Procedure Work?

How does Botox treat a gummy smile

Gummy smile injections can be done by a plastic surgeon, a certified dermatologist, or an aesthetician. They can also be administered by a specialized dental professional. The procedure takes about 10 minutes.

Your doctor will want you to smile. This is to determine the exact location of the muscles. You’ll then relax your face while your doctor is injecting Botox. That’s it.

Before and After Gummy Smile Botox

How Botox Injections Fix a Gummy Smile, The Complete Guide - Gummy Smile Botox Before and After
Image Permission: Gabbay Plastic Surgery

Yes! That’s how it’s done. This beautiful and equally lucky lady was a patient of board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Joubin Gabbay, emphasis on the title! Because only a professional can give you the best results in the most natural way.

She got rid of her gummy smile with Botox injections, but it doesn’t look like she had any work done on her face. The upper lip doesn’t look too stiff or too low. Her smile didn’t change at all. And her teeth are perfectly visible, maintaining that bubbly smile.

And if you look carefully, you’ll see that her lips actually look plumper as they don’t thin out anymore! If you’re in the area, even if you’re not, visit the artist himself at Gabbay Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills. Invasive or non-invasive, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than board-certified.

How Many Units?

The treatment usually starts with about 2-3 units of Botox on each side of the upper lip. About 10 days after you get your injections, you’ll be called for a follow-up. In that case, your doctor may choose to give you additional injections if you’re not happy with the results.

It’s always better to be conservative about these things. Even though the injections are temporary, you want to go for the Michael Jackson smile in the 90s and not the one in the 2000s. By the way, Botox is not the only muscle relaxer to treat a gummy smile. Dysport and Xeomin can also be used.

Does Botox for Gummy Smile Hurt?

Normally, Botox is not painful when injected into the forehead or the crow’s feet. However, if you’ve ever waxed or threaded the lip area, you know how sensitive it can get.

For that reason, you have the option to get a topical numbing cream applied prior to the injections. Even if you don’t use the numbing cream, it hurts about 1-2 on a scale of 10 and just for a second.

How Long It Takes & Lasts

Similar to all other Botox injections, the effects start to show after about 3 days. And it takes about 10-15 days to fully kick in. The way your body metabolizes Botox varies. So, even though the injections last about 6 months, they can last shorter or longer too.

How Much Does Gummy Smile Botox Cost?

The cost of the injections will depend on your location. However, the price range is usually between $150 and $300.

Side Effects of Gummy Smile Botox

As long as you go to a professional for injections, you don’t have much to worry about. Minor bruising or swelling may occur in some cases.

It doesn’t mean that your doctor did a bad job. You may also feel weird at first because of not being able to smile as wide. But the feeling goes away.

Aftercare

It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions. You shouldn’t lie down for about 4 hours after the procedure. You shouldn’t wash your face with hot water and avoid exercising at least for a day. Try not to touch your face and massage the treated area.

Treating a gummy smile with Botox is easy, quick, effective, and painless. And the fact that it’s temporary makes it all the more appealing to fix a gummy smile. If you don’t like the results, you can always choose not to get more injections. Simple as that.

So this is how Botox works for treating a gummy smile. I hope you now have a better idea about this treatment or at least what to ask when you go for a consultation.

Overall, the eligibility is pretty limited. I mean, your problem should be caused by your lips! But still, it’s refreshing to know that you have this option. From my experience though, as long as you find a reliable injector, you’ll see that there are other ways to enhance your results too.

If you have very thin lips and if you’re not happy with having a gummy smile, you can consider combining lip fillers with gummy smile Botox. Thicker lips will hide the excess gum too.

References:

  1. Mostafa D. (2018). A successful management of sever gummy smile using gingivectomy and botulinum toxin injection: A case report. International journal of surgery case reports42, 169–174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijscr.2017.11.055
  2. Dym, H., & Pierre, R., 2nd (2020). Diagnosis and Treatment Approaches to a “Gummy Smile”. Dental clinics of North America64(2), 341–349. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cden.2019.12.003
  3. Dinker, S., Anitha, A., Sorake, A., & Kumar, K. (2014). Management of gummy smile with Botulinum Toxin Type-A: A case reportJournal of international oral health : JIOH6(1), 111–115.

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