Botox and Your Gummy Smile: How Injectables Can Help

Dentist Blog

Did you know that some 57% of Americans cover their mouth when laughing (and about half of Americans smile with their mouth closed) because they're insecure about the appearance of their teeth? This may feel ironic since Americans often seem to think that it's the British who have bad teeth. But perhaps it's not your teeth that make you self-conscious about your smile. This may be the case for those affected by a gummy smile.

Excessive Gingival Display

A gummy smile (called having an excessive gingival display) is when the gum-to-tooth ratio seems firmly weighted in the gums' favour. Your gums are simply very prominent when you smile. It's rarely an issue of clinical concern since it's unlikely to affect the functionality of your teeth. This isn't to say it's not important—because it may be affecting your confidence.

Surgery and Orthodontics

Your dentist has multiple choices when it comes to reducing the prominence of your gingival tissues. A gingivectomy involves your dentist removing a small amount of gum, exposing more of the tooth's surface, sculpting the tissues to create a new gum line. Only a fractional amount of tissue can be removed, as removing too much runs the risk of exposing the tooth's root. Alternatively, your dentist may refer you for orthodontic treatment, realigning your teeth to make them more prominent, which shifts the gum-to-tooth ratio in the tooth's favour. However, there are far less invasive methods on offer.


Botox is becoming more widely used in dentistry, and many dentists provide it for typical cosmetic concerns—to reduce the severity of facial fine lines and wrinkles. However, when specifically applied, Botox can help with a gummy smile. It's injected into your upper lip's elevator muscles, which, as you probably guessed, help your lip to move up and down. Botox simply sets the upper lip at a lower position. This will not change the configuration of your smile, but will instead make your upper lip conceal your excessive gingival display.

What to Expect

Cosmetic Botox can last for up to six months, although medical botox generally has a shorter period of efficiency (up to three months). This isn't a rigid timeline, and some patients may find that the results last even longer. In any event, these results will gradually fade, so it's not as though your efforts will reverse themselves overnight. But it's still important to remember that the results are not permanent, and regular Botox injections will be needed. 

Using Botox to correct your excessive gingival display is a simple, though a highly effective form of treatment. Yes, it's still a commitment but is arguably less of a commitment than surgery or orthodontic treatment.

For more information on Botox, contact a professional near you.


11 February 2022

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