An aesthetic smile means a well-balanced integration of both facial and dental compositions. In dental compositions, the relationship between your teeth and gum tissue contribute to a healthy and beautiful smile. Healthy gums usually appear pink, firm and stippled like an orange peel.
In the case of a gummy smile, it is a subjective matter for both patient and dentist. Patients generally consider a smile to be less attractive when gums hit the 3mm mark from the lips while orthodontists have the stricter requirement of this diagnosis; holding it at 2mm mark.
Two aesthetic types of gum issues:
- Localized gum recession
Tissue trauma caused by vigorous tooth brushing is considered to be the main causative factor for localized gum recession. Occasionally, this condition can be progressive and compromise the involved tooth. In some cases, the tooth may shift or tilt. Another cause of trauma can also be due to poorly fitting dentures.
Receding gums expose the roots to the risk of decay. This type of decay is harder to treat than decay that attacks the teeth. Treatment without delay will be highly recommended.
Treatment: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and make sure that your brushing technique is correct. Visiting a dentist twice yearly is essential so that your dentist can assess your teeth and gums. Your dentist can also recommend a toothbrush or brushing technique specific to your teeth.
- Gummy smile
Contrary to gum recession, a gummy smile refers to patients who exhibit too much gum when they smile. A gummy smile could occur when muscles which control the movements on the upper lips are hyperactive, causing the upper lip to rise up higher than normal.
The manner in which your upper jaw bone developed could also affect the appearance of a gummy smile. For instance, if there is an excessive bulging protrusion of the upper jaw within the gum tissue, you would experience an obvious gummy appearance when you smile.
Treatment: There are two main types of treatment for gummy smile; a surgical and non-surgical procedures. Surgical method includes crown lengthening procedure which adjusts excessive gum tissue and the underlying bone. This may be combined with crowns or veneers to give the teeth the final aesthetic look. If the cause of the gummy smile is due to front teeth that are set too far forward, braces, crowns and/or jaw surgery may be required.
A non-surgical method for gummy smile is to treat the hyperactive muscle of the upper lip via BOTOX® injections. BOTOX® is a natural, purified protein and it is a 10 minute procedure consisting of a few tiny injections. It will take 3 days for BOTOX® to begin taking effect – elevation of the upper lip is progressively weakened; and around 7 days for full results where your smile will show less gum.
If you experience receding gum line to more than one of your tooth, you may also consider seeing a periodontist (gum specialist) who will ensure that you do not have other underlying dental issues, such as periodontal (gum) disease. As treatments may involve other dental specialty areas in dentistry, you may want to consider a dental clinic with multi-disciplinary dental services under one roof.