What Causes a Gummy Smile and How Can You Fix it?

What Causes a Gummy Smile and How Can You Fix it?

Posted by Dr. Thomas Flavin Sep 22,2020

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A gummy smile refers to excessive gingival display (gums covering more than 50% of the teeth in your smile). It can cause your teeth to look short and your smile to appear uneven and disproportionate. A gummy smile can occur due to many reasons, such as overgrowth of the gums, hyperactive lip muscles, or teeth that are slightly out of alignment.

Gummy Smile

A gummy smile occurs when the upper lip is elevated, making teeth appear smaller than they really are. Often the gums cover too much of the teeth, making the “full” appearance simply unattainable. This can make the gums appear larger and the teeth smaller or disappear altogether.

There are a number of causes for this problem, including genetics, structural issues, and more. One of the most common reasons involves a hyperactive muscle called the zygomaticus major, which is connected to a small ligament that pulls down on the lower teeth. When this is overactive, it can make the lower teeth and gums look short and full. Treatment can involve Botox injections to relax this muscle. Also, a procedure known as gingivectomy can help remove the excess gum tissue. This can be useful for some patients, but it’s not suitable for everyone. Your dentist will be able to determine a plan that works best for your unique case.

What causes gummy smiles?

There are many reasons why someone may have a gummy smile and may need some orthodontic treatments. The cause may be due to an underdeveloped jaw, overdeveloped teeth, or very crooked teeth. In children, the cause of a gummy smile may be simply due to genetics. However, that doesn’t mean that their treatment can’t be addressed. While the cause of the problem cannot be fixed, the teeth can be moved into a better position to help reduce the effects of a “gummy” smile. There are a few different procedures that can be done to help reduce the effects. Extraction of baby teeth that are blocking adult teeth from coming in can help. Braces can also be used to help correct the alignment of teeth. Either of these treatments or other ones like veneers or crowns may be used to help improve the appearance of the mouth.

Procedures For Fixing A Gummy Smile

Gum reshaping

Gum reshaping is the removal of the excess gum tissue in order to expose more of the tooth and give a more attractive smile line. This treatment is usually performed when a patient’s gums are covering too much of the smile or when they have teeth that appear too short because of the gumline.

During your procedure, your dentist will use a small scalpel to remove a small amount of tissue from the roof of your mouth, as well as from the roots of your teeth. Then he or she will carefully reshape the gumline, removing any excess tissue and creating an aesthetically pleasing appearance. You may also be offered an anesthetic to numb the area before the procedure is performed.

Crown lengthening

Crown lengthening is a cosmetic treatment if the patient’s gums rest too high or too low on the gum line, causing their smile to appear gummy. This can happen for several reasons. The most common reason is the structure of your jaw; if you have a small jaw bone and a high palate, your smile will appear shorter. If your teeth appear shorter than normal due to your jawbone structure, your dentist may recommend combining a crown lengthening procedure with veneers to give your smile a full appearance.

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