A gummy smile is when a person’s gums show too much when they smile. This is usually under the upper lip, where the ratio of gums to teeth increases. Gummy smiles, although they have common causes, do not bring complications usually, so most of the time they are purely cosmetic.
In this article, we will be talking about what causes a gummy smile, how to spot one, complications they bring (if any), and the usual treatments to fix them with the help of Los Algodones dentists.
What causes a gummy smile?
There are many reasons why a person may have a gummy smile. Here are some of those reasons:
- A short upper lip. When the upper lip is shorter than average, it is normal for the upper gums to show a lot more.
- A hyperactive upper lip. This is when the upper lip rises up more when smiling.
- Gingival hypertrophy, which is when the gums are longer and enlarged.
- Teeth wear that make them seem smaller compared to the gums. This can also be a result of genetics.
- Jaw-related growth, vertical maxillary excess, which can make the upper jaw more prominent.
Knowing where the gummy smile stems from is key for the best treatment.
Do I have a gummy smile?
There have been studies around as to when a smile can be successfully diagnosed as “gummy smile”. The general consensus agrees that if the gums show for more than 3 millimeters, then it is considered a gummy smile.
Does it cause any problem for our oral health?
A gummy smile can be a side-effect of certain dental problems, such as an overbite or jaw-related situations. It is important to know and verify where it is coming from.
If it doesn’t come from anything serious, then it is merely an aesthetic choice. The patient decides if it is worth treating. After all, it can potentially affect one’s self-esteem and hinder the ability to smile.
Usual treatments for gummy smiles
The best way to start the journey towards getting your gummy smile treated is to visit a dentist. Our dentists in Los Algodones suggest that you first get checked so you can have the opinion of an expert and explore the further options that await you.
Now, it all begins with a short examination. As we have mentioned before, it is important to know where the gummy smile comes from in order to treat it correctly. This can be done through mouth impressions of both teeth and gums. It is also possible to need X-rays if it has to do with the patient’s jaw and/or teeth roots.
Among the treatments, there is:
- Laser treatment. For when there is little to be done, the laser cuts the extra gum tissue and avoids the need of surgery.
- Orthodontics. In cases where the gummy smile is caused by a misaligned bite, braces will help fix it up.
- Botox. Although temporary, injecting Botox onto the upper lip reduces its movements for about three to six months.
- Orthognathic or jaw surgery. There are several reasons why the jaw would give way to a gummy smile. This surgery corrects the size of the upper jaw in order to help it move towards a better position.
- Lip repositioning. This is a surgery targets the hyperactive upper lip so it does not rise as much.