When you smile, is there too much gum tissue above your upper teeth? Do you feel like your upper teeth are shorter than your gums? If you answered “yes” to both questions, you have a condition called the gummy smile.
Also known as excessive gingival display, a gummy smile is when there’s more than the usual portion of gum tissue exposed when you smile. It’s not a big issue for many people, but others look to have it corrected, as having a gummy smile makes them feel self-conscious or less attractive.
Causes of a Gummy Smile
There are a number of factors that cause a gummy smile. One common reason is an abnormal eruption of the teeth. Teeth may actually be of adequate length, but they appear short because they are covered by excessive gum tissue. Another reason is a hyperactive muscle controlling the movement of the upper lip. This causes the upper lip to rise higher than normal, which exposes more gums when you smile.
Gingival enlargement is another cause of gummy smile. This condition is caused by several factors, such as inflammation or as a side effect of some medications. Vertical maxillary excess, or overgrowth of the upper jaw, is also a cause, as it causes the gums to bulge.
Should You Fix Your Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile is a common condition among many people. Some experts say that it affects 14 per cent of women and seven per cent of men. Dentists also mention that gummy smile is common that not many people come to them and ask about treatments for it.
There are cases in which having a gummy smile is okay. Studies show that a gummy smile is attractive when less than two millimetres of gum is visible. On the other hand, a gummy smile is seen to be less attractive when three to four millimetres of gum tissue is exposed.
You don’t have to measure your gums to determine if you should fix your smile, as it’s more about your perception of your smile. But if you feel self-conscious about showing your gums while smiling, consider booking a visit to your dentist.
Treatment options vary for gummy smiles. Dental clinics in Queensland, from Townsville to Mackay, offer orthodontic services, cosmetic surgery and other treatments to fix your gummy smile.
Once you visit the dentist, he or she will examine your gums, teeth and mouth to determine the extent of the excessive display of gums and its possible causes. The dentist might take digital impressions of your teeth and gums. You might also need to undergo an X-ray so that the dentist can assess your jaw bone and tooth roots.
Common treatment options for gummy smiles include:
Braces or Invisible Aligners
Braces or aligners are helpful if the positioning of your teeth and jaw causes your gums to stick out. Aligning your teeth and jaw can help reduce the gums that are visible when you’re smiling.
Your dentist will inject the muscles of your upper lip with onabotulinumtoxinA. This toxin briefly paralyses the muscle of your upper lip so that it can’t lift up as high when you smile. However, the results last for only about three to four months.
Crowns or Veneers
If your gummy smile is due to short teeth, crowns and veneers can help your teeth look longer.
Crown lengthening is an option if your gummy smile is due to an abnormal eruption of the teeth. The surgery involves removing gum tissue and re-contouring gums to let more of the teeth’s surface show.
Here, the dentist numbs your gum tissue with anaesthetic then uses a laser to remove the excess gum tissue then reshape the remaining gums.
Jaw surgery is recommended for extreme cases, such as overgrowth of the upper jaw. The surgeon re-contours your upper jaw so that it’s proportionate to your lower jaw.
A gummy smile is a common condition among many people, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. If you think your gummy smile is affecting your self-esteem, visit your dentist and see what can be done.