Gummy Smiles

You might have a ‘gummy’ smile happens if more of your gums show than your teeth when you smile. It’s very common and can be treated by a periodontist. You may have heard it being described as having ‘short’ teeth – although it’s more likely your teeth are standard length, just covered by excess gum tissue.

There are other factors that can cause gummy smiles, too, and the first thing your periodontist will do is establish the cause of your gummy smile.

Causes of gummy smiles include
  • Excess gum tissue covering the teeth
  • Having worn-down teeth
  • Having a high lip line
  • Hyperactive lip elevator muscle
  • Certain genetic conditions affecting the jaw
  • Altered passive eruption

The type and intensity of your treatment will depend on the cause that is identified. For excessive gum tissue and worn teeth, crown lengthening is a common treatment. This involves removing and reshaping excess gum tissue and bone to expose more of your natural teeth. This can be performed on one tooth or several teeth, and is also sometimes performed before restorative treatment such as crowns. In some cases, laser treatment is available to remove excess gum tissue.

If your teeth are very worn-down or naturally short, your periodontist may recommend dental veneers. These could be made of porcelain or a composite, tooth-coloured material, and will restore your teeth to their natural length.

Orthodontic treatment such as invisible braces could be used for some genetic conditions affecting the jaw, while surgery might correct hyperactive lip elevator muscles. In some cases, Botox can also be used to control these muscles, although this treatment would require repeating every few months.

Your dentist will be able to advise you on the most effective options for curing your gummy smile. The result will leave your face looking more balanced. To further improve your confidence and enhance your smile, you could discuss fitting in veneers or crowns with your periodontist.

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