Botulinum toxin, or Botox, can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles on the face, including smile lines. You typically need repeat treatments to maintain the results.


  • Botox is a nonsurgical procedure that’s used to smooth wrinkles by temporarily relaxing muscles.
  • It can be done around the mouth to reduce the appearance of smile lines.
  • The effects of the procedure typically last about 3 to 6 months.


  • Botox is generally considered safe with little downtime.
  • Certain side effects can occur, and the procedure should always be performed by a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
  • Side effects may include:
    • redness
    • swelling
    • bruising
    • pain in the mouth area
    • numbness
  • Always see a doctor if these side effects don’t resolve within a week.


  • Botox is a quick procedure with little downtime needed.
  • You should be able to drive yourself home and possibly even return to work the same day, though you will need to avoid makeup and strenuous activity for 24 hours.
  • Always be sure to find a reputable medical professional to perform the procedure. In some states, aestheticians aren’t allowed to administer Botox.


  • The cost of Botox will vary depending on how many units you need and where you live.
  • Typically, you can expect the procedure to cost anywhere between $400 to $900 per session.
  • Be wary of Botox treatments that seem inexpensive, as the technician may not be medically trained.


  • Botox is an effective way to temporarily treat the appearance of smile lines, though it’s not a permanent solution.
  • The results of the treatment will typically last 3 to 6 months.
  • To continue to see results, you’ll need to get additional treatments every few months.

It’s great to laugh a lot, but you may not find the accompanying wrinkles, sometimes called laugh or smile lines, very funny.

Botox is used to smooth wrinkles and injections can be done around the mouth to reduce the appearance of smile lines.

Botulinum toxin (aka Botox) is injected in small amounts around the mouth to freeze and relax the muscles. This smooths the look of wrinkles, since certain lines, known as dynamic wrinkles, are often caused by repeated muscle movement.

The effects of the procedure typically last about 3 to 6 months.

You can get Botox anywhere on your face. Anyone with smile lines or who wants to slow the appearance of smile lines, barring pregnant people or those with certain conditions, is a good candidate.

The price of Botox will depend on exactly how many units you need, and in what location you’re getting the procedure done.

In most cases, it will cost anywhere from $300 to $600, and you’ll need to have this process repeated every 3 to 6 months to see the best results.

Because Botox is generally considered a cosmetic procedure, it’s not likely to be covered by insurance.

Smile lines, which can be caused by sun exposure, smoking, or just as part of the natural course of aging, are wrinkles of varying depths that appear around the corners of the mouth. As the name suggests, they may be more visible when you smile.

Botox is a nonsurgical treatment that temporarily freezes or weakens the injected muscle. Your dermatologist or plastic surgeon will use a small needle to inject the substance into the facial muscles below your skin, and your wrinkles should be less visible within a few days.

In some cases, Botox can be also used along with surgery to reduce the look of a gummy smile.

The procedure for Botox for smile lines will typically go as follows:

  1. You’ll arrive at your appointment and fill out some basic medical paperwork.
  2. Since Botox will be injected in the face area, you should be able to keep your clothes on. For sanitary reasons, you may be given a gown to put over your clothes.
  3. The doctor will clean off your face and take off any makeup. They may apply a topical numbing cream or ice to the area.
  4. Using a very narrow needle, the practitioner will inject the Botox directly into the muscles surrounding your mouth. You’ll feel a prick and possibly tingling sensation.
  5. The practitioner should go over aftercare instructions with you, and you can ask any questions.

Botox has been tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the forehead and for crow’s feet. In the lower face, the use of Botox is considered off label.

Botox for smile lines will treat the wrinkles around the mouth that can sometimes give it a downturned or frown appearance.

Botox is generally considered a safe procedure with minimal side effects, though they can occur.

There’s a slight risk of botulinum toxicity which can occur in the rare case that the injection fluid spreads. If you have any breathing difficulty or trouble speaking, contact your doctor immediately.

Minor side effects usually resolve themselves and can include:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • pain in the mouth area
  • numbness
  • headache
  • drooling
  • minor speech differences

Recovery for this procedure is generally pretty minimal. Here’s what to expect after getting Botox for smile lines:

  • You’ll be able to resume most normal activities after the procedure and you can drive yourself home or even return to work.
  • Don’t lie down on your face or touch the area for at least 4 hours after the procedure.
  • Wait a full 24 hours before exercising or doing other strenuous activity.
  • You may feel a slight stinging or tingling sensation that should subside within a few days.
  • You’ll start to see results within 3 to 6 days with maximum results occurring about 14 days after the procedure.
  • Results aren’t permanent and you’ll need to continue to get Botox treatments every 3 to 6 months for best results.

It can be helpful to see a before and after picture of real patients to decide if getting Botox for smile lines is right for you.

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Botox injections can be used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in different parts of the face. Attribution: Dr. David Mabrie – Mabrie Facial Institute

Before getting Botox for smile lines, make sure you prepare accordingly by:

  • meeting with your practitioner to discuss the procedure and exactly what they will do and what look you are trying to achieve
  • sharing your medical history, any medications, and if you are pregnant or planning to be with your practitioner
  • asking your practitioner what to avoid in the week before your appointment, which may include blood thinning medication, alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and even certain antioxidant-rich food which may make it more difficult for blood to clot
  • wearing as little makeup as possible, and planning to avoid makeup and exercise after your appointment

Botox and fillers are both injectables used to treat facial wrinkles. While Botox relaxes the muscles, fillers are used to fill and plump the skin. Botox is typically used for dynamic wrinkles created by muscle movement like smile lines, crow’s feet, or lines on the forehead.

Fillers can be used to make the face plumper in areas where there are static wrinkles caused by a loss of collagen. Fillers also last longer, with some lasting up to 2 years before you’ll need to get another treatment.

Both procedures have risks, though fillers may be riskier and in rare cases can cause an allergic reaction.

Botox is generally a safe and effective procedure, but you should always seek out a reputable, board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

To find a reputable practitioner, you can search location-based databases from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Follow up with providers and ask to see before and after pictures of real patients and talk through your desired outcome.