What Causes a Gummy Smile?

Posted on: August 29, 2018

Smile Makeover

Most people would rather not have a gummy smile. It tends to overshadow the upper teeth, and it takes away from anyone's smile. It also makes the upper teeth appear shorter than they are. Fortunately, a gummy smile can now be addressed with some dental procedures.

Why people end up with a gummy smile

Having excess gum tissue in the upper jaw is often the result of an irregular eruption of teeth. The additional gum tissue makes the person's teeth appear shorter than normal.

A gummy smile can also be caused by the muscle in the upper lip being hyperactive. That leads to the upper lip rising more than usual when the person opens their mouth, exposing more gum tissue than one would usually see when a person smiles.

Issues with the positioning of the upper jawbone can also lead to excessive gum tissue being displayed when a person smiles. For example, people with overbites often have gummy smiles.

The amount of teeth and gums that are visible when a person smiles are determined by a handful of factors. These include:

  • The size of the person's lips
  • The shape of the lips
  • The condition of the person's facial muscles
  • The quantity of gum tissue the patient has
  • The size of the person's teeth

An ideal smile line should only reveal a little bit of gum tissue. The teeth are the stars when a person smiles and the gums should only be part of a uniform background.

Having a gummy smile does more than ruin a patient's smile. It also could be a sign of serious dental issues like a problem with the development of the teeth or gums. A gummy bite could also be a sign of an orthodontic issue like an improper bite.

Treating gummy smiles

There are a variety of treatment options available when a person is dealing with a gummy smile. The first thing the dentists will do is examine the patient's mouth to determine what the underlying cause is. This examination often includes taking impressions of the mouth and X-rays.

Depending on what the dentist discovers, the patient might be referred to a specialist like an orthodontist, oral surgeon or periodontist. Treatments used to address excessive gum tissue being displayed when a person smiles include:

  • Laser treatments
  • Braces
  • Lip repositioning surgery
  • Repositioning of the upper jawbone
  • Reconstruction of the jawbone and gingival tissue
  • Crown lengthening

Crown lengthening is a common solution for gummy smiles, and the procedure is performed by a periodontist. This is a dentist that specializes in dealing with the structures and soft tissues that support teeth. During the procedure, the dentist removes excess gum and bone tissue to expose more of the surfaces of the teeth in the upper jaw.

Set an appointment today

Request an appointment in our Westford dentist office here: https://smilewestford.com.

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