While perhaps not regarded as a dental ‘problem’ per se, gummy smiles are often an aesthetic complaint that our dental professionals commonly hear from their patients. Gummy smiles can be quite distressing for the people involved, which must be recognised along with the ability to ‘treat it’, ensuring the patient restores their healthy-looking image and their confidence.
A gummy smile is exactly what it says on the tin – too much of the gum area is exposed when a person smiles. This usually applies to the upper part teeth and gums. As mentioned above, one of the main problems people have who experience this condition is the negative look on their image. Therefore, their confidence and self-esteem can be easily affected.
What causes a gummy smile?
Several factors can lead you to experience a gummy smile. The main ones include:
- Abnormal eruption of your teeth – because of this, the teeth may well be of normal length, but they look much shorter due to being covered by too much of the gum area.
- There may be a problem with the muscles in your upper lip – this would have the effect of raising your top lip higher than it should be, thus exposing more of the gum.
- There could be an abnormality in the way the upper jawbone developed as you were growing up, thus leaving more of the gum area to be visually exposed when smiling
- It is relatively obvious to tell if you have a gummy smile, but certain professional factors are used to determine whether this is so. These include the facial muscles or the size and shape of a person’s lips and teeth.
What treatments can fix a gummy smile?
Suppose you suspect you have a gummy smile. In that case, the obvious first place to visit is your dentist, who will conduct a comprehensive inspection of your mouth include taking impressions of the gums and using x-rays to determine whether there is a problem.
A dentist may refer you to a specialist or consultant to look into your problem further or perhaps deal with the issue in-house. The main remedies for a gummy smile include:
- Gum reshaping by laser – This is often the preferred method for mild cases, as it is painless and non-evasive; however, the results can be limited compared to some of the more complicated methods, and the gum can even grow back. The good news is that the success rate is high (especially when used with other techniques), and many people find satisfaction from undergoing this.
- Orthodontics – Most cases can be remedied through the popular clear aligner system, Invisalign. However, more advanced options may need jaw surgery or other sophisticated forms of orthodontic treatments.
- Injections – This may be another route some people go down as by administering anti-ageing injections, the upper lip relaxes, which allows it to fall, thus hiding the gum area when the person smiles.
Other treatment options are available, but these depend on the individual and each person’s circumstances; therefore, a dental consultation should be your first starting point to remedy a gummy smile problem.