When shared with others, a smile can be a gift, lifting the recipient’s spirits when they are down. Smiling can even improve mental health. When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides, which help counteract feelings of stress and anxiety.
We believe everyone should smile for life and appreciate the different smiles every one of us possesses. When someone is unhappy with their smile, however, it can impact their health.
There are a variety of reasons why someone would be displeased with their smile. Having a smile that reveals a large portion of gums (called a gummy smile) is a fairly common complaint – impacting 10% of 20-30-year-olds. If your teeth expose more than 2 or 3 mm of gum tissue, you may have a gummy smile.
How Does a Gummy Smile Happen?
There are several reasons why someone would have a gummy smile. And while most you cannot control, some you can. Some of the leading causes of a gummy smile are:
- Improper tooth eruption – If teeth don’t erupt properly, some teeth may be covered by the gums, which causes the teeth to look short even though they are probably a normal length.
- Hyperactive or short lip – If the lip is a normal length when at rest but when smiling lifts too high and exposes a large portion of gum tissue, it is considered hyperactive.
- Short or worn teeth – When teeth are naturally short or are worn down due to grinding, the tooth’s length will appear shorter.
- Vertical maxillary excess – If the upper jaw is overgrown, the gums will appear more prominent due to a longer bony growth.
- Gum overgrowth – Often caused by inflammation, gum overgrowth can happen due to certain medications, such as antiseizure and immunosuppressant medications.
What Treatment Options Correct a Gummy Smile?
The best treatment option for a gummy smile depends on its cause. At Mill Point Dental, we offer several options to help our patients achieve a smile they are proud to wear.
Gum Lift – The most common treatment for a gummy smile, a gum lift uses a special laser to remove extra gum tissue. Typically pain-free, a gum lift can be performed in the office in minutes. Before starting treatment, your dentist will numb your gums. Once numbed, your dentist will use a pen-like laser to retrace the desired shape of your gum line. As the tissue is lasered, the gums naturally lift back, exposing more tooth structure. Recovery is quick as there are no sutures or dressings. You can even go back to work or school afterward.
Dental Veneers or Crowns – If the cause of your gummy smile is worn teeth, the best treatment may be adding veneers or dental crowns to elongate the tooth structure and improve the tooth to gum ratio.
Orthodontia – If jaw misalignment is the culprit, orthodontia may be a great option. At Mill Point Dental, we offer Invisalign, which can shift the bite to the correct position and create more balance in your smile.
Botox – When a gummy smile is caused by hypermobility, Botox can be injected into the area between your upper lip and nose. This treatment relaxes the upper lip and limits how much the lip lifts when smiling.
We want you to love your smile. If you have concerns that you may have a gummy smile, schedule an appointment with one of our dentists to discuss your options. We look forward to seeing you!