In an esthetically pleasing smile, the upper lip will sit just above the top of the teeth. In a “gummy” smile, however, the upper lip sits well above the top of the teeth, exposing large amounts of the gum tissue.
Treatment options for a gummy smile vary but typically include:
Maxillofacial Surgery – In the hospital under general anesthesia the upper jaw is surgically divided and placed higher in the mouth so that less of the gums will show when smiling. This procedure is very invasive and requires extended downtime post surgery for recuperation.
BOTOX to the Upper Lip – BOTOX can prevent the lip from rising too high when the patient smiles. The downside is that the procedure is not permanent and will require multiple injections every 3 to 6 months to keep the lip from coming up too high when the patient smiles.
Crown lengthening – During this procedure a thin band of gum tissue and sometimes bone is removed at the gum line. This allows more of the teeth to show and will make the teeth appear longer and not so small and square. The downside here is that if your teeth are already long this procedure can’t be used because it would make the teeth appear excessively long.
One big advantage that we have in our practice is that with our 3D CT scanner we can see exactly where the bone and gum tissue are. We can see in advance whether crown lengthening would be appropriate in any given case and how much length we could expect to gain. When appropriate we combine crown lengthening with our innovative new Laser Lip Stabilization Technique, which in many cases can make maxillofacial surgery unnecessary.
Dr. Dowd is proud to offer the innovative LipStaT procedure to patients as an alternative treatment option for those with gummy smiles. This convenient procedure lowers the upper lip so that it rests above the teeth when you smile.
During your initial consultation, a thorough dental analysis of your face, mouth, teeth and gums will be performed. This ensures that your unique situation is thoroughly understood and observed so that we can create a complete harmony between your lip, gums and teeth.
Before the procedure begins, Dr. Dowd will use a local anesthesia to numb the area so you experience no discomfort. First, a series of careful incisions will be made to the tissue that connects your lip to your gums. These incisions are made completely within the mouth so there is no visible scaring once healing is complete. Next, a technique is performed to limit the vertical movement of your lip when smiling. The incisions are then closed with sutures.
Patients typically experience minimal swelling or discomfort after the procedure, which can typically be alleviated with over the counter painkillers.
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