Dentists Using Botox to Correct Teens' "Gummy" Smiles

November 9, 2010

Patients with "gummy" smiles - that is, smiles that show too much of the top gum line - feel self-conscious, according to a DrBicuspid article, "Dental Botox use rises among teens." This is especially true for teenage girls, who often feel self-conscious about almost everything. Yet due to their bodies still growing and changing, undergoing costly cosmetic surgery is usually not recommended (and may not be affordable).

One dentist, Mario Polo, DMD, an orthodontist in Puerto Rico, devised a new way to treat teen girls' gummy smiles - he injected Botox into the upper lip directly below the nostrils. Dr. Polo's research was featured in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentalfacial Orthopedics (Feb. 2005) and whether Botox is effective in the Feb. 2008 issue.

Concluded Dr. Polo, "Botox works quite well, but must be handled carefully. It's not like injecting normal saline or a local anesthetic solution. Adequate training is needed to inject Botox, and its practice by dentists is a procedure regulated by state dental boards."

Although Botox is often used to fight wrinkles in older men and women, it's now being used more frequently by teenage girls, with 12,000 teens getting injections in 2009 - up 2% from 2008, according to the DrBicuspid article. In addition to fixing gummy smiles, dentists are using Botox to help eliminate jaw pain due to growing bones and to help keep bottom teeth from "relapsing" after orthodontic treatment.

As part of my mission to keep abreast of new dental treatments, I will be taking a Botox and filler course in March. If you're a teen with a gummy smile and you feel self-conscious about it, please call my Boston dental office for your private appointment. You just may be a candidate for Botox!