How to fix a “Gummy Smile”

A “gummy smile” is simply where an excessive amount of gum is displayed when you smile. Although this issue is mostly a cosmetic one, it is a common complaint for many patients.

A “gummy smile” is simply where an excessive amount of gum is displayed when you smile. Although this issue is mostly a cosmetic one, it is a common complaint for many patients.

If you suffer from a gummy smile and would like to correct it there are a variety of treatments and it might please you to know that only one of those treatments requires significant surgery.

The causes of a gummy smile are typically associated with genetics and/or developmental factors, which can cause more gum tissue to show when smiling.

Let’s go through the various causes of gummy smile and their corresponding treatment.

1. Teeth are covered by gum tissue

When teeth begin to grow through the gums as we grow, sometimes the gum tissue doesn’t quite recede in the normal manner.

Gummy smile
Image credit Serenity International Dental Clinic

This can create the gummy appearance when smiling, almost as though the teeth are shorter than normal even though they are in fact the correct length. They’re simply covered by too much gum.

This can create the gummy appearance when smiling, almost as though the teeth are shorter than normal even though they are in fact the correct length. They’re simply covered by too much gum.

A simple procedure known as gum contouring is used to remove some of the excessive gum tissue and reveal more of the teeth from underneath. Thereby alleviating the gummy appearance.

A second treatment option is orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist will protrude the teeth. Meaning with braces the teeth will be moved out of the gum to expose the correct length.

2. Lip tissue is too high

Another common cause of gummy smile is when the tissue of the lips joins onto the gums a little higher than normal. This reveals the gums more when smiling simply because the lips are already in an elevated position compared to the teeth.

A simple procedure shifts the connection point of the lips slightly further down the surface of the gums, which means when you smile the amount of teeth shown is reduced.

3. Overactive smile muscles

If the muscles which contract when you smile are hyperactive is can mean that they raise your lips higher than normal whenever you smile causing more gum tissue to be shown.

The causes of gummy smile typically are typically associated with genetics and/or developmental factors, which can cause more gum tissue to show when smiling.

4. Abnormal tooth eruption

Sometimes when our teeth grow and begin to appear through the gums, they simply don’t come all the way out like they’re supposed to.

This can cause a gummy appearance because the teeth are physically shorter than they’re meant to be in relation to the gums.

A process called crown lengthening can be used to build up the service of the teeth thereby increase their size compared to the gums and resolving the gummy appearance.

5. Abnormally large upper jaw

If the bone which forms your upper jaw is abnormally large then your teeth and gums may appear more pronounced when you smile because they are physically extending further down than they ought to.

In this instance you may require surgery whereby the bone which forms your upper jaw will be reshaped and your upper teeth will be repositioned to remove the gummy smile appearance.

Conclusion

If you’re embarking on a quest for your best smile then your orthodontist will be the ideal person to speak with regarding how to achieve this. They will be able to accurately diagnose and treat, or even refer you to other specialists in order to achieve your goals.

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