Smile Lines (Lip Lines)
What are Smile Lines? How many teeth you show when you smile or speak and how much of each tooth (length) is displayed when you smile broadly or (at the opposite end of the spectrum) when your lips are at rest are functions of where your upper lip attaches to your face and how old you are.
There are three classifications of ‘Smile lines’ (Lip lines) that dentists use-low, medium, and high. A Smile lip is one in which very little of your teeth are visible when you talk or smile. Someone with a low smile line will show, at the most, a millimeter or two of the edge of the biting edge of the tooth. A medium lip line will allow most of the tooth, up to and including a millimeter or two of the gum tissue, to be visible. A person with a high lip line will show all the top front teeth and a significant amount of gum tissue when speaking or smiling.
Dentists (and plastic surgeons) have not been very successful in surgically changing the low, medium, or high lip line. There are some dental ‘tricks’ that can be used in limited situations to reduce the amount of gum display evident with a high smile line. Most of the corrective procedures to improve the esthetics of the situation require significant investments of both time and money. Periodontal (gum) surgery, alone or in conjunction with porcelain veneers or ceramic crowns, is more likely. In extreme cases the only option may be to surgically reposition the entire maxilla (with or without orthodontics). Conversely, the appearance of showing no teeth when talking or smiling is regarded as one associated with advanced aging.
There is another component to how much of your teeth show when your lips are at rest. You showed about 3mm of the biting edges of the top two front teeth when you were 20 years old, by the time you are 40, you may show only 2mm of edge. Someone 50 years of age would show 1mm, and at 60 years, maybe no tooth is seen when the lips are at rest. The tissues of the human face will drop about 1mm every 10 years, beginning around age 40. As the facial tissues lose elasticity, they slowly drop. With certain dental techniques, we can change your smile to look younger.
After a thorough examination, we will explain what situation you have and what corrective measures are possible.