Why Botox Is a Fast and Easy Way to Fix a Gummy Smile Without Surgery

Photo Credits: Carina König / EyeEm/ Getty Images | Image Used for Illustrative Purposes Only

If you have a gummy smile, one that shows a large portion of your gums whenever you smile or laugh, you're already too familiar with the difficulties that come with showing too much of your gums. It can make you self-conscious when you talk or laugh and cause you to hold back from overly expressing yourself. What you might not know is that there is a new procedure that can correct a gummy smile without having to go under the knife.

You May Also Like: 8 Treatments Experts Say Make a Huge Difference in Your Smile

In the past, the only way to correct a gummy smile was with a gingivectomy, an operation to remove excess gum tissue. Now, to top cosmetic dentists you can easily fix your gummy smile with a simple procedure that takes under an hour to perform. For a gummy smile correction, Botox Cosmetic injections can be used to give the same effect as gum lift surgery.

According to New York cosmetic dentist Victoria Veytsman, DDS, “Botox can be injected into the lip muscles above the smile (under the nose), which controls your ability to contract the upper lip while you smile. It prevents the upper lip from raising too high and it usually lasts from four to six months.”

Image courtesy of Beverly Hills, CA cosmetic dentist Laurence R. Rifkin, DDS

For the patient shown above, Beverly Hills, CA cosmetic dentist Laurence R. Rifkin, DDS says he used, “a combination of veneers and Botox Cosmetic injections right under the nose in the levator labii superioris muscles (the muscles that help us sneer) to deactivate the muscle group that elevates the lip excessively and show the gum tissue above the teeth themselves,” explains Dr. Rifkin. “As part of this treatment, I also have my patients perform smile exercises in front of a mirror for muscle strengthening to improve smile symmetry. Performing these exercises can also help increase the lip elevation on just one side of the smile if it is lower or weaker than the other side. Over time the effect is natural and the muscle is strengthened just like any other muscle that has been exercised.”

Dr. Veytsman says it's perfect for patients who want to test see the temporary results before undergoing surgical intervention: "We use this for people with smiles that can’t be corrected with gum reshaping or what we call a 'smile lift.' It is also used for people with overactive muscles that cause the lip to curl up when they smile, exposing too much gum. There are limitations of course as some issues are skeletal in nature and might require more work."

The recovery is minimal (there may be a tiny bruise at the injection site) and Dr. Rifkin says results can last anywhere from three to six months. He recommends this temporary procedure to patients who are considering permanent surgery and want to preview the possible results. As far as freezing your smile or stunting your expression around the mouth, Dr. Rifkin says there’s nothing to fear. “The Botox Cosmetic does not immobilize the muscles you use to smile. Because the injections are placed in the ‘elevator’ muscles, it really allows you to smile bigger and brighter without fearing that you’re showing too much of your gums.”

Image courtesy of Beverly Hills, CA cosmetic dentist Laurence R. Rifkin, DDS