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Perfect pearlies

Miley Cyrus did not always have a perfect smile. Since her gums got in the way of the picture-perfect smile, she did what stars do: Got it fixed. Some, like Meg Ryan, didn’t, and looked the better for it.

fashion and trends Updated: Sep 18, 2010 23:58 IST
Dr Ashish Kakar

Miley Cyrus did not always have a perfect smile. Since her gums got in the way of the picture-perfect smile, she did what stars do: Got it fixed. Some, like Meg Ryan, didn’t, and looked the better for it. For those who want it fixed, the treatment is quick and painless, and depending on the work involved, costs between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000.

Quick-fix option

In most cases, the problem is not the teeth but excessive gum tissue needing adjustion. Dentists use a relatively straightforward procedure that involves trimming away the excessive gum tissue using either conventional surgical procedures or laser.

A laser procedure removes excess gum tissue from the top part of the teeth, making teeth look longer by lessening the amount of gum tissue exposed between the lips and the teeth. Removing too much gum tissue, however, can expose the root of the teeth, leading to chronic sensitivity. This procedure is painless and seals the blood vessels, which minimises bleeding and allows for faster healing time as compared to conventional procedures.

One of the reasons for a gummy smile is a hyperactive muscle that elevates the upper lip. Occasionally, the gummy smile can be aggravated by a thin upper lip, which can further contribute to the problem by exposing the upper gum. Small doses of Botox can be injected in the upper lip to expose less of the gummy tissues.

The drawback with the procedure is that Botox needs to be re-injected periodically — about three times a year — and your new smile will last for about four months. The cost for each sitting varies Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000.

Surgical Correction

An alternative way is lip repositioning surgery. In less than an hour, this surgical procedure can not only lower the lip line at rest to hide gum tissue but also control how much it moves up when you smile. Like any other surgery, this procedure is irreversible and costs about Rs 15,000.

Dr Kakar is a senior consultant dental surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals