How to Fix a Gummy Smile

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Published 02/26/2021

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Are you self conscious about smiling? Do you believe you have a gummy smile? That when you smile too much gum tissue shows above the top teeth?

A gummy smile In clinical terms is called excessive gingival display. it’s when your smile line shows more of your gums than you’d like. It’s also a matter of a personal aesthetic, and varies from person to person.

Great news, it can be treated!

The type of treatment will depend on what’s causing the excessive gingival display. Once the cause is identified, the dentist will work on the suitable treatment for the case.

What is a Gummy Smile?

There is no specific definition for a gummy smile. It mostly depends on each person’s perception. Your perception can be affected by the height and shape of your upper teeth and the angle of your jaw. 

Studies have shown that if the amount of gum tissue showing is 2 millimeters or less, the smile is considered attractive.

A smile is considered gummy, when around 3 millimeters or more is shown of the gum tissue.

Studies also showed that it is more common in women than men.

What Causes a Gummy Smile?

There are different causes, however, there are a couple of common ones: 

Variations in Teeth Growth 

The way your adult teeth grow can lead to a gummy smile. Having small teeth compared to the gums can be due to genetics. 

If your front teeth grew in too far, or overerupted, this means your gums might have also grown too far. This is known as dentoalveolar extrusion. 

Another condition can be the cause known as vertical maxillary excess. This happens when the upper jaw bones grow longer than their usual length and result in a gummy smile.

Differences in Lip Sizes

Having a short upper lip can expose more gums when you smile. Also having hyperactive upper lips, which are lips that are normal in length when resting, but lifts too high up when smiling exposing more gum tissue than normal. 

Drugs 

If you consume certain types of drugs such as drugs that prevent seizures, hold down your immune system, or high blood pressure medications, it’s most probably the cause for having a gummy smile.

This condition is known as gingival hyperplasia, where your gums are enlarged. In that case, you should see your dentist as soon as possible to give you the right treatment, to prevent having periodontal diseases.

How to Treat a Gummy Smile

gummy smile

There are different treatment options for a gummy smile. Treating a gummy smile depends on the cause behind a gummy smile. At Queens medical center we offer two effective treatment options depending on your case:

Gingivectomy

If the cause is having excess gum tissue, your oral surgeon may recommend a gingivectomy procedure.

In this procedure, the extra gum tissue is removed and reshaped to show more of the teeth. This procedure starts with a local anesthesia to prevent you from feeling any pain. 

The next step will be using a scalpel or laser to trim and reshape the gums. After the procedure your gums will likely bleed and feel sore for about a week, and you might need more than one session. 

The great news is that the results are long lasting and permanent. 

Dermal Fillers

If you have short upper lip or hyperactive upper lips which move too far up over your gum line when you smile, dermal fillers can be the gummy smile treatment for you. 

Dermal injections contain botulinum toxin, it is injected in the lip, which will paralyze the muscle and prevent it from moving too high up when smiling.

This solution is cheaper than surgery and less intrusive. It can also be followed by orthodontic treatment which is a good alternative to jaw surgery. However, it is temporary and lasts about three to four months.

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