How To Fix A Gummy Smile

smiling woman with hair backDentists consider a “gummy smile” as more than three or four millimeters of gum tissue showing above the teeth. To the untrained eye, two millimeters or less looks ideal. About 14 percent of women and 7 percent of men are treated for this genetic abnormality – which translated to more than 569,000 corrective procedures a year. Dr. David Blaustein is a NYC dentist specializing in cosmetic issues.

“The exact nature of treatment will depend upon what causes the smile to appear gummy. Is it a short upper lip or a lip that moves too much? Is it excessive overbite? Is it eruption? An exam will help identify your individual treatment options, but we do our best to keep it as minimally invasive and affordable as possible.”

At Dr. Blaustein’s office, there are three common ways to fix a gummy smile.

Orthodontics

When erupted teeth are the cause, a series of clear, custom-made mouth appliances can correct the positioning of the teeth, much like braces. Invisalign clear aligners show a noticeable difference in four months for most patients, but take about 18 months for the completion of the correction. This minimally invasive treatment yields good long-term results for patients who qualify as good candidates.

Surgery

Crown lengthening can be performed on short teeth or the maxillia can be moved when there are jaw alignment issues that cannot be corrected with invisible aligners. The list of surgical procedures that can be done is long, and may include: porcelain veneers; bridges; crowns; fillings; gap filling; and misshapen tooth bonding. Results are immediate, but it is more expensive and invasive than other options so it is generally used as a last resort.

Gum Contouring

Dr. David Blaustein specializes in the use of lasers to contour the gums. “Celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Kate Beckinsale and Catherine Zeta Jones have all had this procedure done,” Dr. Blaustein explains. “We can perform laser gum contouring for a variety of reasons — to fix uneven or misshapen teeth, excessive gum tissue and receding or overhanging gums.” Results are permanent and visible immediately following the 30-minute procedure. Risk of infection is minimized, pain is minimal, and the only side effects are slight sensitivity and swelling for a week. Gum contouring may be done alongside surgical procedures and grafting work to enhance the results.

What about Botox?

“Botox is a new, experimental treatment to reduce the appearance of a gummy smile, but we don’t do that here for several reasons. First, it’s an off-label use, not approved by the FDA. Secondly, it only works when the lips shrinking back is the problem; for everything else, it’s just a way of masking the underlying issue. Thirdly, it will cost patients over $1,000 a year to maintain, as the typical injection only lasts three months.”

Patients have complained that Botox makes their faces look “weird”, “crooked” or “unnatural.” One woman on RealSelf.com even went so far as to say she looked like “The Joker”.

Dr. Blaustein adds, “At Chelsea Dental Aesthetics, we want to give you lasting results and the winning smile you wish you had been born with – not a quick fix that won’t make you happy.” For a real solution to your gummy smile, contact Manhattan cosmetic dentist Dr. David Blaustein  at 212-243-6081 for a consultation to explore your options.

Resources:

  1. Korean J Orthod – Orthodontic treatment of gummy smile by maxillary total intrusion with a midpalatal absolute anchorage system http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3694207/
  2. Real Self – I Had a gummy smile, now I do not, but It appears as though I’ve had “work done”! – Clearwater, FL https://www.realself.com/review/clearwater-fl-botox-gummy-smile-dont-like-work#gref
  3. NY Times – Bothered By A Gummy Smile? http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/bothered-by-a-gummy-smile/?_r=0

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