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Italian researchers developed a novel gummy smile treatment and tested it on 32 people to see if there was any improvement.
“Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye”, wrote Shakespeare in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Over 400 years later, researchers have used a rather less romantic approach in an attempt to bring conventional beauty to individuals with a gummy smile.
White teeth, pink gums and the lips, plastic surgeons believe, define a perfect smile. General dentists classify the appearance of too much gum during a full smile as”unattractive”. The term gummy smile has been coined to describe this.
There are several causes of a gummy smile including variations in bone growth, crown eruption, and upper lip function. Accordingly, there are also several different treatments to help prevent the excessive appearance of the gum during a smile. Botox injection has given some success, but patients have to wait for the injection to start to work.
A review of the different treatments by researchers in Italy led them to develop a new minimally invasive technique with immediate results. The technique involves an injection of a tiny amount of a product called hyaluronic acid, which is a natural part of the body. Their results were published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
Hyaluronic acid is injected next to the muscle that is responsible for lifting up the upper lip during a smile. The theory behind the injection is that it physically stops the muscle from working properly to lift the upper lip, so less of the gum line is seen.
To test their theory, researchers from Italy selected men and women with over 3mm of gum line exposed during a full smile. Photographs and measurements were taken before treatment and two weeks and six months after treatment. The patients completed a questionnaire anonymously two weeks after the treatment to give researchers an indication of the level of pain and degree of satisfaction they experienced.
All patients had an immediate improvement, and the improvement lasted six-to-eight months. Two patients had bruising after the injection, and one patient could not move the lip temporarily. These problems resolved within a few days.
The researchers conclude that this technique for gummy smile treatment could be used alone or as part of a complex treatment. They think this provides a new option for plastic surgeons to treat a gummy smile. One can only speculate what Shakespeare would have thought.
Written by Nicola Cribb, VetMB DVSc Dip.ACVS
Reference: Diaspro, A., Cavallini, M., Patrizia, P. and Sito, G. (2018). Gummy Smile Treatment: Proposal for a Novel Corrective Technique and a Review of the Literature. Aesthetic Surgery Journal.