A gummy smile or excess gingival exposure is well known to be the result of vertical maxillary bony excess. Corrective methods include a maxillary impaction procedure or soft tissue lowering gummy smile procedures. Both approaches have their indications and are most commonly used in Caucasian patients.
In the December 2016 issue of the Annals of Plastic Surgery an article entitled ‘Correction of Midface Depression Using An Inverted M-Shaped Expanded Polytetrafluoroetylene Implant Improves Gingival Exposure’. The authors have previously observed a correlation between gingival excess and midfacial depression in Asian patients. Over an eight year period they treated 42 patients with excessive gingival exposure with varying degrees of midface depression with an inverted M-shaped ePTFE implant placed at the base of the pyriform aperture at the bone level.
Based on before and after pictures as well as measurements of upper lip length, nasolabial angle, and facial convexity angle, the results of the midface implant was assessed. The average maximum gingival exposure was around 5.5mms (± 1.5 mm) before surgery which was significantly decreased to less than 2mms at 6 months after surgery. The nasolabial angle was improved from 85° to 95° in some patients. Most patients rated their postoperative results as highly improved. Temporary and typical postoperative findings were upper lip numbness, foreign body sensation, and a stiff smiling. These symptoms resolved after three months. No infections or implant extrusions were seen.
This paper shows that in cases of midface depression excessive gingival exposure can be reduced by pyriform aperture implant augmentation. This approach appears to offer a safe and effective treatment option with a high level of patient satisfaction.
Dr. Barry Eppley