What Causes A Gummy Smile And How Do You Fix It?

Looking to fix a gummy smile? Does your upper lip pull back, exposing too much gum tissue? Gummy smiles and excessive gum tissue can ruin beautiful teeth and distract from your smile’s real beauty.

Gummy smiles may be cute in kids, but not so much adults. Thankfully you can fix your gummy smile to look more natural and healthier.

It doesn’t matter how healthy or white your enamel is, if you are constantly focusing on uneven, bulky gums instead of your teeth. Fortunately, you can easily improve the appearance of a gummy smile by removing excess gum tissue and creating an even, symmetrical gum line across your smile.

Do I Have a Gummy Smile?

When you smile, do you see more gum tissue than teeth? A gummy smile is typically a disproportionate relationship between your upper lip, gum tissue, and tooth size. Aesthetically, we typically expect to see more teeth than gums when your lip retracts during smiling or laughing. But if your natural teeth seem short, the gum tissue shows too much, or you have a short lip, it distracts from the overall beauty of your smile.

A gummy smile is more common than you might realize. Often, dentists and some periodontists will use laser gum contouring to correct a gummy smile, but because the American Academy of Perio has not supported laser gum treatment, our dental specialists include traditional contouring with other smile makeover treatments to produce the overall best results. Any time you’re undergoing a smile makeover or considering cosmetic dentistry, it’s important to see how your gum and lip tissues come into play. For people with a gummy smile or hyperactive upper lip, one or two extra steps are added to your treatment plan.

Is it Possible to Fix a Gummy Smile?

Gum recontouring is a cosmetic and therapeutic treatment for people who have a gummy smile. This procedure safely alters the shape of your gum margins (gum line) in order to make them more aligned and proportionate with your teeth. Gum contouring allows us to gently reshape your gumlines and expose more of the tooth’s surface. In turn, your teeth will look fuller and appropriately shaped.

Depending on the type of gummy smile treatment you choose, your results may be permanent or semi-permanent. Unlike moving teeth with orthodontic treatment or jaw surgery, a typical gum contouring procedure offers fast results with little to no recovery time.

Conventional contouring are safely performed and a permanent solution for anyone who feels self-conscious about excess gum tissue. Especially if your teeth erupt too low or there is a severe jaw protrusion in the upper teeth. We can even adjust your dental crowns if necessary. Rarely is maxillofacial surgery required for someone whose teeth remain partially covered.

Gingivectomies today are safer, more precise, and gentler than traditional gum surgery of years past.

Treatment Options for Gummy Smile

Uneven gum lines can have a significant impact on the appearance of a tooth or several teeth. By adjusting the tooth to gum ratio, we can erase the gummy smile in a minimally invasive procedure. Depending on the cause of your excess gum tissue, the treatment options for a gummy smile will vary. Here are some of the most common treatment options to be familiar with:

Botox injections: Sometimes, a gummy smile is caused by a hyperactive upper lip muscle. The upper lip retracts too much when you smile or laugh, which then exposes more gum tissue. Specific injectables like Botox can be placed just under the upper lip to relax the muscle so that it doesn’t pull as tightly when you smile. Since Botox is a natural muscle relaxer, it smooths and loosens hyperactive upper lip muscles so that they lay lower than normal, reducing excessive gingival display. Usually, there is no need for lip repositioning surgery.

Aesthetic Crown Lengthening Surgery (Gingivectomies): If the problem is caused by gum tissue covering too much of the healthy tooth structure, we can gently reduce the gum line to reveal a larger area of tooth enamel. Cosmetic gum contouring is extremely safe and natural, as it allows your healthy teeth to be more visible when you’re smiling, even if you have a short upper lip. If you’ve ever heard of crown lengthening for gum disease, aesthetic gum recontouring is a similar procedure but performed for aesthetic reasons, rather than to manage infection.

Normally, gummy smiles are not caused by gum disease and do not require root planning.

Causes of Too Much Gum Tissue

What causes someone to have excess gum tissue? Understanding the reasons will help you choose the best treatment option. Here are just a few reasons why someone may want to fix a gummy smile:

  • Genetics (inheriting gummy smile characteristics from a parent)
  • Taking medication known for causing gingival overgrowth/hyperplasia
  • Hormonal changes such as pregnancy tumors or hormone-induced tissue growth
  • Hyperactive upper lips
  • Jaw development problem or lack of access to orthodontic treatment
  • Unusual tooth development such as teeth that are too small, or are disproportionately shaped compared to neighboring teeth

Some people have gummy smiles their entire life. Others develop them as they get older, such as excess gum tissue growth from medication and hormonal changes. Or maybe orthodontic treatment pulled teeth together, squeezing and pushing the tissues causing a gummy appearance. While the instinct may be to see a cosmetic or general dentist to discuss changing each natural tooth, the best results come from adjusting the excessive gingival display.

The cause of someone’s gummy smiles will be a primary factor when determining the best cosmetic dental procedure.

Los Angeles Gummy Smile Treatment Options

Looking for the best specialist, oral surgeon, or periodontist to treat your uneven gum tissues? Our specialists can correct your aesthetic concerns without lip surgery or jaw surgery. Our experienced dental professionals will discuss what’s causing your extra gum tissue exposure, then determine the best treatment option for your situation.

When you erase your gummy smile, you can smile with confidence again, knowing that your teeth look their very best.

Contact our Los Angeles office today to learn more about fixing a gummy smile.

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