Embarrassed of a ‘gummy smile’?
Can a lot of your gums be seen when you smile? This is an excessive gingival display, or as it is more commonly called a ‘gummy smile’. Though a gummy smile can develop naturally, people may feel self-conscious about it. Fortunately, excessive gum display can be easily corrected.
According to the New York Times, “about 14 percent of women and 7 of men have excessive gingival exposure when smiling”.
What is a gummy smile?
A smile is said to be “gummy” when more than 2mm of gum is exposed. Though it is usually a natural occurrence, there can be a number of different reasons behind it.
– The eruption of teeth during childhood
– Downward movement of teeth on the upper arch
– Excessive growth of the upper jawbone
– Overactive or undersized muscles in the upper lip
Treatment options for a gummy smile
There are a number of treatment options to correct a gummy smile, though these options depend on the root cause.
Gingivectomy – Removing excess gum tissue
This method lengthens the crown (the visible white portion of the tooth) by removing excess gingiva. The gum line is also contoured, taking it higher into the mouth. The procedure is performed under anesthesia by a periodontist or a dental surgeon. It is one of the most common ways of correcting a gummy smile.
Botulinum toxin – Botox injection
If the gummy smile occurs because of an overactive upper lip muscle, Botox injections are an effective and non-surgical treatment. Botox is injected into the muscles of the upper lip in small doses to reduce its movement. It is not a permanent treatment and patients must receive injections every 6-12 months to retain results.
If the gummy smile is caused due to a misshapen or overgrown jawbone, surgery is the best option for achieving results. A surgeon may use orthodontic appliances, such as aligners, to correct the position of teeth. In other cases, excess bone mass can be removed and the jawbone reshaped to correct an excessively gummy smile.
Deciding on a treatment option
Discuss your concerns with a dentist to understand the cause behind your gummy smile. There may be multiple treatment options available to you. It is also advisable that you have your teeth scaled and planed to understand the extent of excess gingiva.
Don’t let a gummy smile stop you from showing off your smile. Speak to a Dawson dentist about your options.
Talk to our patient care team to schedule an appointment with an experienced Dawson dentist near you. We are also available to chat with us via video conferencing.