I’d heard there are treatments for gummy smiles these days. I’ve always hated mine and wanted to do something about it but the two options my dentist gave me were either scary invasive or crazy expensive. The first option he gave me was porcelain veneers, which he said would fix my gummy smile along with “all the other flaws” in my smile. Not only was that a tad insulting, but the price was astronomical. The second option he gave me was gum contouring, which he said he does with lasers. That idea gives me hives. Is there another option that is not as invasive?
Generally, the best treatment for you will depend on the cause of your gummy smile. There are more than people realize.
Causes of Gummy Smiles
Big Gums. This one is obvious. You have normal-sized teeth, but longer gums.
A puny upper lip. Some people just have tiny upper lips, so when they smile you see more gum than you would with a longer lip.
Medical Gingival Hyperplasia. This is when either a medication, poor dental care, or a medical condition causes the overgrowth of your gums.
Hyperactive muscles. This is when your lip tightens up more than normal giving you a gummy appearance.
Comparing Some Options
While porcelain veneers are a great option for a smile makeover and can also repair a gummy smile, if you are otherwise happy with your smile then it is not a good investment for you. This is a better option for someone who was looking for a complete smile makeover. If I am reading you right, that is not what you are after. You want to fix this one issue. So, in that case, don’t invest the money in porcelain veneers.
The laser procedure is not as scary as it sounds, but is not your only other option. A very simple thing you can do, depending on the cause of your gummy smile, believe it or not is Botox. Botox has been successfully used in treating gummy smiles. This is for someone whose lip comes up too tightly when they smile. Using the Botox relaxes the upper lip thereby giving them a more natural looking smile.
There are other options as well such as, orthodontics, root planing, crown lengthening, and even orthognatic surgery. Which of these is useful to you depends on the cause. You asked for the least invasive and that would be Botox.
I want to get your opinion on something. My wife told me that her dentist suggested Botox to help with her migraines. Is that a legitimate thing? I get the feeling, he’s just finding a way to get patients to try his new money maker. My wife tends to believe anything that anyone with a medical degree tells her. I just want to make sure she’s not being taken for a ride.
Believe it or not, Botox does help with migraines by relaxing the muscles that cause tension. In fact, Botox is not only used to help with the migraines, but it is becoming a way to help patients with TMJ Disorder as well, which we’ll get into more in a moment.
In this case, I think the dentist is just giving your wife some options to help with her headaches. Migraines can be debilitating so getting some relief will make life easier for the both of you.
The only thing I would be careful about is that the dentist has the training to do this. I doubt he’d be offering it if he didn’t, but you want to make sure.
Botox and TMJ Disorder
One thing I would look into in order to make certain she is getting the help she needs and not just having the symptoms masked is the root cause of her migraines. Many patients do not realize that migraines are a symptom of TMJ disorder. I would like to see her evaluated by a dentist with training in that area before she starts masking symptoms.
If that is the reason she is having migraines, it is better to treat the TMJ. Otherwise, her condition will progress and the treatment could end up more invasive than if you catch it early and head it off.
My wife has been having jaw pain and migraines. We took her to the dentist because we’ve heard that can be TMJ disorder. The dentist checked her over and suggested Botox. That sort of threw me because I thought that was a cosmetic procedure. Will that actually help her?
I am glad you wrote and believe I can help clear some things up here. If you look at the image above, you can see in the top (before) image, the woman looks angry. In truth, it was the constant tension in her forehead muscles that were causing her muscles to cramp up like that.
Using Botox relaxes those muscles and gives her a less angry appearance, as you can see in the after image. This is the principle behind using Botox for TMJ disorder.
The same medication used for cosmetic purposes can serve a three-fold purpose. The smoothing out of the face is a side benefit for your wife. What she is really after is the way it releases the tense muscles. This will relieve the pressure on her jaw joint, which will help with her TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can cause migraines. So, three birds with one stone. There is another use your wife probably doesn’t need, but I will mention it here for other readers. It can also help with gummy smiles.
You will still want to get to the bottom of what is causing her TMJ. Many times if it is a tension issue, you may find that your wife grinds or clenches her teeth. She may not even realize she does it because those types of habits are often done during sleep.
One thing that can help with that is a nightguard. It is like a sports guard but custom-fitted to her jaw so it will be very comfortable. The Botox will give her immediate relief. The night guard will help protect her teeth, at night, from any grinding and absorb some pressure from any clenching.