Article reviewed by:
Dr Daylene Leong • Periodontist
While some individuals reveal a small portion of their gums when they smile, others display a more substantial amount, causing their teeth to appear short in proportion to the rest of the gums, giving rise to the term “gummy smile.”
Although individuals with gummy smiles may have healthy teeth and gums, they may be self-conscious about smiling, impacting their self-confidence. The good news is that there are available solutions to correct gummy smiles.
Causes of a Gummy Smile
Gummy smiles may arise due to several factors including:
- Excessive display of gums due to the abnormal eruption of the teeth
- Hyperactive lip muscles which cause the upper lip to rise higher than normal when smiling, showing more gum tissue
- Prominent upper jaw
- Prominent position of upper front teeth
- Severely worn teeth, resulting in the teeth looking shorter relative to the gums
Benefits of Gummy Smile Treatment
The main benefits of gummy smile treatment are an improved and enhanced smile which in turn, boosts self-confidence and social acceptance.
Treatment for Gummy Smile
There are several treatment options for gummy smiles:
- Crown lengthening: a procedure that adjusts excessive gum tissue and the underlying bone. This may be combined with crowns or veneers to provide the teeth the final aesthetic look.
- Orthodontics (alignment of the teeth), crowns, and/or jaw surgery may be required if the cause of the gummy smile is due to front teeth that are set too far forward.
- Protein injections can be used to treat the hyperactive muscles of the upper lip. It is a 10-minute procedure consisting of a few tiny injections.
The most important aspect of treatment for gummy smiles is clear communication between the dentist/dental specialist and the patient. Gum surgery takes about one hour to complete and the stitches are usually removed after one week.
If crowns are indicated in your treatment plan, then there is a waiting period of about 1-3 months before the final crowns are attached. Where braces and/or jaw surgery are required, the treatment period will take longer, depending on the dental condition of the patient. Rest assured that throughout the entire treatment duration, you will consistently have teeth and maintain a normal appearance.
Gum surgery is NOT a temporary solution. With careful planning and execution, the results can last for years. Proper maintenance and professional follow-up will be essential for successful long-term treatment outcomes.
Where to Find Treatment for a Gummy Smile?
A gum specialist (periodontist) who has undergone an additional 3 years of specialty training would be involved in the correction of gummy smiles. As treatment of this nature usually involves other specialty areas of dentistry, e.g. prosthodontists (for crowns or veneers), orthodontists (for braces), or oral surgeons, you may want to consider looking for a dental clinic that can offer access to all these other specialists under one roof.
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