A gummy smile is a common problem and one that can mar an otherwise pleasing appearance. We refer to a smile as being “gummy” when someone shows an excess of gum tissue when smiling or talking. Ideally, it’s desirable to show very little gum when smiling and your gums should have a nice, balanced appearance.
There are a number of reasons why your smile may look too gummy as it could be due to the way your upper jaw bone has developed or it may be that the muscle controlling your upper lip is hyperactive so that when you smile or talk it causes your upper lip to move higher than normal, exposing an excess of gum tissue. However one of the most common reasons for a gummy smile is simply due to teeth being covered up by excessive gum tissue which can make them appear too short even though they may be the correct length underneath.
If you think your smile does look a bit too gummy then it’s best to book an appointment with Dr. Larry Leslie here at Tsawwassen Place Dental Clinic. It’s possible that dental x-rays and impressions of your teeth may be required to help assess the situation more clearly. An initial examination will help determine the reason for your gummy smile and we can then discuss suitable treatment options. The most straightforward treatment is to simply remove the excess gum tissue, carefully sculpting your gums so they will beautifully frame your teeth.
This type of treatment has to be very carefully planned as it is vital to make sure that the correct amount of gum tissue is removed. We would rather remove too little gum tissue and to touch up the results later on then to remove too much.
The excess gum tissue can be removed with a scalpel or by a dental laser. Both methods are equally as effective although laser therapy can be more comfortable with fewer side effects such as swelling. It is a very straightforward procedure and your gums should heal up without any problems. However you may wish to stick to eating soft foods for the first few days during the initial healing period as your gums settle down. It can take a couple of weeks for your gums to fully heal and to see the full effects of gum sculpting.
Gum sculpting can be used to treat all your front teeth, or just one or two teeth. Other possible treatments may include reshaping your jawbone as well as your gum tissue. This procedure can also be used in preparation for dental crowns during a surgical procedure called crown lengthening. We might suggest this if you have a tooth that has broken off very near the gum line and where there isn’t enough structure left to support a crown. By lengthening the amount of tooth left exposed, we can safely place a crown, protecting the broken down tooth and restoring your smile.
* Source: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry