Gummy Smile Treatments
The appearance of your smile is made up of a variety of factors. Having straight white teeth is only one part of the smile. Individuals who have a gummy smile, or a smile that shows too much of their gums, may not be happy with the appearance of their smile, even if they have perfect teeth. Fortunately, there are a variety of cosmetic dental treatment options designed to treat a gummy smile. If you are considering your options, below is more information on what causes a gummy smile and the treatment options that are available to help you.
What Causes a Gummy Smile?
Approximately 15% of adults in the United States have a gummy smile. A gummy smile, or a smile with more than three millimeters of gum tissue exposed, is a dental condition that is more common than you probably expected. What causes a gummy smile? There are many possible causes, and most of them involve the structure of the teeth, gums, and lips. Many of the causes have to do with genetics and individuals inheriting genes that result in either a small teeth to gum ratio, or just large gums. Additional common causes include teeth that have not erupted fully and remain covered by gum tissue, disproportionate length upper lips, or a hyperactive upper lip that rises higher than normal when smiling.
Treating a Gummy Smile
There are many cosmetic dental treatment options available to fix a gummy smile. Choosing which treatment option is right for you will depend on pinning down the cause of your gummy smile. For example:
* Orthodontics: If the cause for the gummy smile is due to the placement of the jaws or teeth, orthodontics, such as braces or Invisalign, may be enough to shift the bite and make the gums appear less prominent.
* Jaw surgery: If the jaw is moderately or severely protruding, the most appropriate treatment is jaw surgery combined with orthodontic treatment. The surgeon will reshape the jaw, so it is the right size and in the ideal position.
* Veneers or crowns: To change the appearance of the teeth, making them look longer and more proportionate to the gums, dental veneers or crowns are perfect.
* Gum recontouring: If too much gum tissue is the issue, a periodontist can perform a gum recontouring treatment. This treatment is a quick and efficient procedure, where excess gum tissue is trimmed away from around the teeth.
* Crown-lengthening surgery: If the teeth are not fully erupted, the crown-lengthening procedure may be used to remove excess gum tissue and/or bone. This procedure exposes more tooth and let the gums heal to the correct position.
* Lip repositioning surgery: If the gummy smile is the result of a short upper lip, the dentist can re-position the upper lip to expose less of the gum line.
* Botox: If a hyperactive lip muscle is the issue, Botox injections can help to reduce the muscle’s pulling effect. The result will be an upper lip that better rests over the gum tissue. Botox is a much cheaper gummy smile treatment option than surgery.
If you are hoping to treat your gummy smile, the good news is there are many treatment options available. The best place to start is to have a conversation with your dentist so they can determine the cause of your gummy smile and get started on developing a treatment plan that is right for you.