How to Fix a Gummy Smile?​​​​​​​

When you smile, can you see a lot of your gums? Do you feel like your teeth look shorter than normal or that the pink of your gums is the dominant feature? If so, you may have what is known as a ‘gummy smile’ – a fairly common problem cosmetic issue. Fortunately, there are several cosmetic dentistry treatments that make it possible to alter the amount of gum tissue that you have surrounding your teeth so that you can enjoy a more natural and attractive smile.

Here is what you need to know about excess gum tissue and what can be done to fix a gummy smile.

Causes of a gummy smile

It is not always known exactly what causes a gummy smile. In many cases, patients who have this feature find that it is a genetic issue and that their parents or grandparents also show excessive amounts of gum tissue when they smile. However, there are also some other reasons why a patient has a gummy smile.

– If your teeth haven’t erupted properly, they might still remain partially covered by gum tissue. This can cause them to look shorter than is considered normal and lead to lots of gum tissue on display.

– Your teeth have become eroded. This can cause them to look short in comparison to the gums.

– You have a condition called gingival hypertrophy which is where gums are naturally long or enlarged.

– You have an overgrowth of the upper jaw, a condition called vertical maxillary excess, which causes the gums to bulge.

Treatment options for a gummy smile

If you have a gummy smile, there are a number of potential treatment choices. Your cosmetic dentist will be able to tell you which is most likely to be the best choice for your individual requirements. Some of the most common and successful treatments include the following:

Gum contouring

Gum contouring is a procedure that changes the line of your gums so that your smile is as esthetically-pleasing as possible. Gum contouring usually takes place using a local anesthetic, although sedation may be given if you are particularly anxious or nervous about dental procedures.

The gum line can be recontoured using either a traditional scalpel or some cosmetic dentists may offer the procedure using laser technology. Excess gum tissue is cut away and the gums are then left to heal back around the teeth. You may have to wear a dressing over the site for a number of hours afterward and you will be given special instructions for what you can eat and how to care for your teeth and gums after your procedure.

Veneers or crowns

If removing gum tissue isn’t really an option, such as when your gummy smile is being caused by shortened teeth rather than an excessive amount of gum tissue, then you may be recommended to have porcelain veneers or dental crowns. These can adjust tooth size so that they look more in proportion to your gum tissue. Veneers are thin shells that are placed onto the outside enamel of teeth, whereas crowns sit over the top of affected teeth and cover them completely. Which is right for you will be decided by your cosmetic dentist. Again, you can expect this procedure to be carried out under local anesthetic with or without sedation.

Jaw surgery and orthodontics

If your excessive gum tissue is being caused by jaw protrusion, you may be recommended to undergo surgery to reduce the size of the jaw as well as move it to a more natural position. An orthodontic solution such as a brace or Invisalign may also be used to ensure that your bite is as natural as possible. Unsurprisingly, jaw surgery is performed under a general anesthetic and has a short recovery period during which time you will be very limited in your activities.

If you have a gummy smile and would like more information on any of the treatment options listed above, or if you would like to schedule a consultation to see which treatment is most suitable for you, please contact our offices.

Eric Spellman, DMD

Dr. Eric Spellman and his staff take pride in providing a comfortable, caring experience for our patients in the Larchmont area. Call us today at (914) 315-4446.

Cosmetic Dentistry