top of page

Gummy Smile

Side by side close up images of woman smiling




















What Is a Gummy Smile?

Gummy smile is a term for the type of smile that exposes a large part of the upper gums. In a “regular” smile, the upper lip moves slightly above the teeth. In a gummy smile, it moves higher and reveals at least four millimeters of the gum tissue.


Some causes of a gummy smile are:

•       Hyperactive upper lip elevator muscle

•       Shorter upper lip

•       Medications that may cause gum overgrowth

•       Dental condition called delayed passive eruption (gums growing over the teeth)


How does Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomen®  work and what alternatives are available?

Botox® treatment for gummy smile correction is a highly effective, affordable, safe and non-invasive option for patients’. Tiny injections of neuromodulator above the upper lip work to reduce muscle activity of the lip elevator muscles, softening the pull of the upper lip above the gum line. The result effectively reduces the exposure of the upper gums upon smiling. For patients with a very thin upper lip dermal fillers may also be suggested.

Surgery is an option, but only a minority of patients with a gummy smile have anatomy that requires this. Surgical options include gingivectomy, where a portion of the gum tissue is surgically removed, and rarely, orthognathic surgery to reposition the jaw. This can be a good option for people that don’t necessarily have complicated anatomy contributing to the problem but might want a more permanent solution.

What Does the Treatment Look Like?

Prior to Botox® treatment, we evaluate your anatomy  and movement with you relaxed and then making facial expressions, including smiling. We will determine the proper location and dose for the Botox® injections. While most patients are excellent candidates for this simple procedure, if it appears that you would benefit from evaluation by an oromaxillofacial surgeon we will provide a referral.

Prior to the injections, a numbing cream or ice will be applied to the treatment area to reduce potential pain. After the numbing takes effect, the clinician typically injects 2-5 units of neurotoxin per side to temporarily paralyze the levator labii superioris alaeque nasi (LLSAN) muscle and lower the upper lip. The LLSAN is responsible for lifting the upper lip and when injected with Botox®, it lowers it.

The procedure lasts for about 10 minutes. You can go about your daily activities right after the treatment.

Gummy smile can be combined with the Botox lip flip to create height in the upper lip body.


What’s the Aftercare?

  • To prevent bruising and swelling, avoid alcohol for 24 hours before and after the treatment.

  • Avoid Skip vigorous exercise 24 hours prior the procedure.

  • Don’t lie down or bend your neck the first four hours after the procedure.

  • Avoid heat and direct exposure to the sun.


What You Should Know Before Fixing a Gummy Smile with Botox®?

In this case Botox®/Dysport®/Xeomin® may lower the upper lip so that you are not be able to show the gum line when you smile.  Because there is some risk of lowering too much, (which could affecting your singing or playing of a wind instrument, for example), using low doses and making sure that you receive precise injections are very important.


What are the results from Botox® for a Gummy Smile?

  • The results typically appear within one week after the procedure.

  • The effects of Botox® usually last six to eight weeks, depending on the patient*.

  • To keep the desired effects of the Botox® procedure, you should repeat the treatment after the results wear off. Patients report that repeated Botox® treatments eventually prolong the “no gummy smile” intervals.

(*The small amount of Botox® required for the procedure reduces the longevity of Botox® results, as does the constant movement of the muscle around the mouth used for talking, eating, and drinking.)

If  you would like to know more about Gummy Smile, reach out to

 Ithaca Medical Aesthetics to 

schedule an appointment or a complimentary consultation.

bottom of page