3 Ways to Fix a Gummy Smile Without Surgery

3 Ways to Fix a Gummy Smile Without Surgery
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More than 10% of people, particularly women, have what’s medically called an “excessive gingival display” (EGD), commonly known as a gummy smile. 

Several potential causes of a gummy smile include short teeth, gingival overgrowth, and an overactive upper lip. While not a health risk, gummy smiles can be an aesthetic concern for some individuals.

If you are one of those individuals and prefer to avoid surgeries, these treatments could be an option.

Non-surgical gummy smile treatments

Dermal fillers

Dermal fillers are injected strategically to modify facial features and achieve aesthetic goals.

How dermal fillers help with gummy smiles

In gummy smiles, dermal fillers primarily target two areas:

  • Upper lip. It volumises the upper lip to add more tissue, creating a “lift” to help hide some gum tissue exposed when smiling. It can also subtly reshape the lip when injected along the border, minimising the visible gum line.
  • Jawline. Sometimes, a gummy smile can be related to the perception of a short chin. Filling specific points along the jawline can create a more defined contour, enhancing overall facial balance and making the gum line appear less prominent.

Are dermal fillers painful?

While dermal fillers might involve some temporary discomfort, most people find it manageable with proper numbing measures and post-care. 

After the procedure, you might experience temporary swelling at the injection site, minor bruising and mild soreness or discomfort, but these should go away in a few days.

Individual experiences vary, so be honest with your provider about your concerns and expectations.

Who is this for?

Dermal fillers suit you if:

  • You have a thin upper lip. If a lack of lip volume contributes to your gummy appearance, fillers can offer fullness and balance.
  • You have uneven lip borders. Defined borders can create a more prominent lip, minimising gum visibility.
  • You have minor skeletal imbalances. Subtle jawline sculpting might improve overall facial harmony, reducing the focus on the gum line.

Anti-wrinkle injections

Anti-wrinkle injections offer another non-surgical option for addressing gummy smiles caused by overactive muscles. These injections target specific muscles involved in smiling, temporarily relaxing them and reducing their ability to lift the upper lip excessively.

How anti-wrinkle injections work for gummy smiles

The main muscle responsible for lifting the upper lip is called the levator labii superioris. When this muscle contracts too much during smiling, it can expose more gum tissue than desired. Anti-wrinkle injections block the nerve signals that tell this muscle to contract, essentially “relaxing” it and limiting its upward movement.

Are anti-wrinkle injections painful?

Like dermal fillers, anti-wrinkle injections are generally considered minimally painful. The injections involve very fine needles, and most providers use topical numbing creams and ice packs to minimise discomfort. Additionally, the amount of product used is typically small, further reducing potential pain.

Who is it for?

Anti-wrinkle injections might be for you if an overactive levator labii muscle causes your gummy smile. If this muscle is the primary culprit behind your gummy smile, injections can reduce its activity and limit gum exposure.

But if you have a more severe case (you have over 6mm of gum on display), injections might be combined with other approaches, such as lip fillers, jawline sculpting, or TADs (see below).

Temporary skeletal anchorage devices (TADs)

While we don’t offer this treatment at ENRICH, temporary anchorage devices, or TADs, are another popular choice. They use small, screw-like implants used in orthodontics to provide stable anchor points for tooth movement. They are typically made of biocompatible titanium alloy and inserted into the jawbone.

How TADs fix a gummy smile

To help with gummy smiles, your dentist or orthodontist inserts the TADs into specific locations in the jawbone, typically between the roots of your teeth. The procedure can cause some discomfort even with local anesthesia.

Next, tiny hooks or elastics are attached to the TADs to connect them to your braces. Then, gentle, controlled forces are applied through the TADs to push your teeth upwards into the jawbone. Over time, this process reduces the amount of gum tissue visible when smiling.

Is TAD insertion painful?

TADs are performed by orthodontists, so they are best placed to tell you about the pain level you may endure. Some patients report feeling a “popping” sensation when the TAD pierces the gum tissue, but this is usually brief. 

We understand that after the procedure, you might feel mild discomfort, soreness, or swelling around the TAD insertion site for a few days. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers and put ice packs on the affected sites. Some patients experience minor bleeding or tenderness at the site, which usually resolves within a day or two.

Who is this for?

TADs for gummy smiles can be safe for most people unless you have insufficient bone quality, active periodontal disease, or certain medical conditions that can impair healing and increase the risk of complications, such as autoimmune diseases.

Gummy smile treatment at ENRICH

If you’d like to know more about treating a gummy smile or are ready to book, contact us.

Please Note:

*With all surgeries or procedures, there are risks. Consult your physician (GP) before undertaking any surgical or cosmetic procedure. Please read the consent forms carefully and be informed about every aspect of your treatment. Surgeries such as liposuction have a mandatory seven-day cooling-off period to give patients adequate time to be sure of their surgery choice. Results may also vary from person to person due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise. Before and after photos are only relevant to the patient in the photo and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience. Ask questions. Our team of dermatologists, doctors and nurses are here to help you with any of your queries. This page is not advice and is intended to be informational only. We endeavour to keep all our information up to date; however, this site is intended as a guide and not a definitive information portal or in any way constitutes medical advice.

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