Gummy smile

When some people smile, their upper lip elevates too far above their upper teeth, exposing gums, and producing a gummy smile. This phenomenon could be due to several factors. One of the reasons is a hyperactive muscle which elevates the upper lip. Occasionally, the gummy smile is also aggravated by a thin upper lip that further contributes to the problem by exposing the upper gum even more.

While for most people smiling is an expression of happiness, individuals whose gums stand out more than their smile often feel self-conscious.

A gummy smile can be treated with the same medicine that treats wrinkles.  Anti-wrinkle injections into the muscles above the upper lip weaken them and reduce the elevation of the upper lip.

What does the treatment involve?

Injections are performed in the area above the upper lip with a very fine needle and feel like a small “pinch.” A topical numbing cream and ice pack can be applied before your treatment in order to minimize the “pinch” sensation. The procedure takes only a few minutes.

How long will it take for the treatment to take effect?

Many patients will start to see the effect of decreased muscle activity in the injected area in 3-5 days. Most patients see full effect after 1 week but it can take up to 2 weeks.

How long do the results last?

Results last an average of 3 months. Many patients who are consistent with treatment have effects that last significantly longer than the average 3 months. As the effects wear off, patients will gradually start to notice the gummy smile return.

Is there any after-treatment care required after anti-wrinkle injections?

Patients should experience little to no down time afterward. Patients should avoid applying pressure to the injection area for about 24 hours, which includes not massaging it, to help ensure that the cosmetic doesn’t migrate elsewhere. Patients can also keep any slight bruising to a minimum by keeping their blood pressure low for several hours after the injections. This includes staying away from strenuous exercise, saunas, or hot tubs.

Are there any risks and complications associated with anti-wrinkle injections?

While anti-wrinkle injections have been proven extremely safe, there is a risk of side effects as with all treatments and procedures. These include injection-related side effects such as discomfort or pain at the injection site and bruising. Allergic reactions have been reported which include itching, rash, hives, wheezing, asthma-like symptoms, or dizziness.

It is theoretically possible for the cosmetic’s effects to spread to other areas of the body, though there has never been a confirmed case of such a serious side effect in relation to the use of the product in treating wrinkles. Still following an injection, you should seek medical help if you develop difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing or you experience overall muscle weakness, vision problems, voice changes, or loss of bladder control.

Who should not undergo anti-wrinkle injection treatment?

  • Anyone with a known allergy to any ingredients in anti-wrinkle injections or who has had an allergic reaction to anti-wrinkle injections in the past
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Patients with muscle or nerve conditions such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), myasthenia gravis, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome
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