If you have noticed your teeth look small or short, the problem may not be your teeth, but rather gums that sit too low.
For some people, smiling reveals a large portion of their gums, drawing attention away from otherwise healthy, beautiful teeth.
Show me how a gummy smile looks...
Are certain people more likely to have gummy smiles?
Many of the conditions that lead to a gummy smile are hereditary. If a close family member has a gummy smile, there is a much higher chance that you will as well.
Gummy smiles also tend to be more prevalent in women than in men.
So what causes my smile to look gummy?
Some of us simply have more gum tissue than others. In some cases, teeth appear short because they did not fully erupt from the gums and are still partially covered by gum tissue. Gums can also grow over teeth due to a condition called gingival hypertrophy.
Your teeth may appear small in comparison with your gums if they have been worn down or are naturally shorter than average.
If your upper lip is too short, it can reveal more of your gums when you smile. In other cases, the upper lip is a normal length, but lifts too high when smiling.
An overgrowth in the upper jaw, known as vertical maxillary excess, can make your gums bulge and upset the proportions of your smile.
Are gummy smiles common?
Excessive gum tissue tends to decrease with age.
What should I do if I think my smile is gummy?
If you are concerned about how much gum tissue shows when you smile, your dentist can perform an examination and explain your treatment options. During the appointment, he or she will assess your teeth, gums, and jaw to figure out the cause. You may also need impressions and x-rays.
Can I prevent my smile from looking gummy?
Unfortunately, when a gummy smile is caused by genetics, there are no reliable methods of prevention. However, by visiting a dentist on a regular basis, you can address teeth grinding and other issues that can eventually contribute to a gummy smile.
What counts as a "gummy smile?"
One of the most common treatments for patients who have a mildly gummy smile is laser gum contouring. Your doctor can use a soft-tissue laser to remove gum tissue, improving the proportions between your teeth and gums.
What are my other treatment options?
When combined with orthodontic treatment, lip repositioning can be a good alternative to jaw surgery.
If your gummy smile is due to mild issues with your jaws or bite, an orthodontic treatment can shift the position of your teeth to reduce the amount of gum tissue that shows when you smile.
Doctors can now use BOTOX Cosmetic to limit the movement of your upper lip when you smile. While temporary, it can provide beautiful results at an affordable price.
How do I get started?
If you dislike the gummy look of your smile, a range of treatments exist to give you a more balanced, symmetrical appearance. Reach out to a doctor today to learn more about your options.
Dr Perry is a great dentist. Very kind and informative. I feel like he is personally invested in my health. He always takes the time to sit and discuss any issues I'm having - I never feel like they're rushing me out.