Nothing beats a warm smile! Almost everyone dreams of having a beautiful smile. How about when you smile or laugh big? Do you see more gum lines in the mirror?
If you answered yes, then you could have a gummy smile. A gummy smile can cause awkwardness in social situations leading to insecurity and low self-esteem in some people.
Opinions on gummy smiles may vary from one person to another. If your smile makes you conscious and you are looking for solutions, then you are in the right place. This article will outline the causes and treatment options for a gummy smile.
- 2 Why Is My Smile So Gummy?
- 3 Can a Gummy Smile be Corrected?
- 4 How Can I Fix My Gummy Smile Without Surgery?
- 5 Conclusion
Why Is My Smile So Gummy?
A 2018 study on smile aesthetics showed that one of the most distracting characteristics of a smile is when too much gum is shown. Aesthetics aside, your gummy smile could hide a host of problems with your jaw, bite, or lips because a gummy smile isn’t just about the gums; it is about your teeth, jaws, lips, and gums working together.
And if you wish to fix your gummy smile, it is essential to know what causes it in the first place. There could be many factors contributing to a gummy smile.
Gummy smiles are most commonly caused by excessive gum tissue. When the gum-to-tooth ratio is high, or in other words, when excess tissue covers the top of the teeth, it causes a gummy smile.
It is also best to screen for Gingival Hyperplasia. It is a condition common in people suffering from HIV, Diabetes, or Leukemia, and it causes inflammation giving the gums a swollen appearance.
The size and shape of your teeth can sometimes determine how your smile appears. If you have smaller teeth, then it can subsequently make your gums look bigger. Abnormal tooth eruption.
Excessive wear and tear of your teeth can also contribute to shorter teeth and gummier smiles. Abnormal teeth eruption is also a leading cause of a gummy smile.
If your upper and lower jaw doesn’t align, you could have bite problems. A bulging protrusion, especially in your upper jaw, can give you a gummy smile. A poor bite can cause several problems, from sore jaws to crowding of teeth to a gummy smile.
Patients with a gummy smile are more likely to have hypermobile upper lips. If your upper lip is too short or the muscle is overactive, then it can cause your lip to rise. It will expose the tissues in your gums, giving your smile a gummy appearance.
Can a Gummy Smile be Corrected?
Now that we have tackled the causes of a gummy smile let us find out what you can do if you have one. Is cosmetic surgery the only solution, or is there an alternative?
How Can I Fix My Gummy Smile Without Surgery?
Yes! The good news is that there are non-surgical ways to fix a gummy smile. Let us explore the most popular non-surgical options to fix a gummy smile.
If you have a gummy smile resulting from poorly aligned jaws, orthodontic treatments such as braces or Invisalign could be great options. It can help with two things:
- Align your bite and get rid of problems like jaw pain, teeth grinding, or crowding
- Improve the appearance of your smile
To determine whether this option is right for you, speak with your orthodontist.
Crown or Veneers
Crowns or veneers are a non-invasive way of treating the appearance of a gummy smile resulting from short teeth. For those of you who have a disproportionate gum-to-teeth ratio, a crown or veneer can help elongate your teeth effectively.
These are simple dental restorations wherein your orthodontist attaches crowns or veneers to your teeth. It balances out the length of your teeth and gum tissue, improving your smile.
Deep cleaning can help if your smile looks mildly gummy. There are times when plaque and tartar build-up on your gums, causing irritation. Deep cleaning via scaling or root planing is a procedure where this tartar is removed from the teeth and below your gum line.
This non-surgical procedure cleans your teeth and gums, removes inflammation, and gives you a less gummy smile.
Fixing a Gummy Smile Surgically
Thanks to modern advancements in the field of dentistry, there are now many options for you to choose from to treat your gummy smile.
Gum tissue is removed through a surgical procedure. It exposes portions of your teeth naturally while lengthening your teeth. Besides treating conditions like gingivitis, and fibrous gum enlargement, it is also used for aesthetic reasons- like fixing a gummy smile.
Although this is a surgical procedure, it is a minimally invasive, low-risk procedure that gives your teeth a more natural look.
A laser gum contouring procedure uses a laser rather than scalpels or other surgical instruments to sculpt and reshape your gum line. These lasers cut around the excess tissue, which is then removed to improve the appearance of your gums and smile.
Contouring with lasers is typically an elective procedure. Aesthetic reasons are usually the primary reason, excluding periodontal disease.
Crown Lengthening Surgery
The objective of a crown lengthening procedure is the same as a gingivectomy, i.e., to raise the gum line to reveal more of the enamel of your teeth. But here, along with the gum, some bone tissue is also removed.
The gum line is first peeled back to reveal the bone tissue. The bone is reduced, and the gum tissue is returned. It is more invasive than a gingivectomy.
Lip Surgery or Botox
Several options are available to help if a hyperactive upper lip is the cause of your gummy smile. A lip repositioning surgery can be done where the position of your upper lip is adjusted, and this procedure limits your upper lip from retracting when you smile.
It takes 30-45 minutes to perform this, and patients are usually given local anesthesia. This treatment could reduce a gummy smile.
Botox is another option if you have a hypermobile lip. An injection of Botox is used to restrict the muscles that contract when you smile so that your gums won’t show when you smile.
It is a temporary solution to your gummy smile, and its effects will fade away in 6 months.
A gummy smile can affect your facial aesthetics and your confidence. Consult your orthodontist to find out which of the above options suits you.
Gummy Smile: Causes and Treatments
Dr. Bill Redmond is a native of Southern California, the son of an orthodontist and the husband of a general dentist. That makes family gatherings pretty interesting…if you like teeth!