Gummy Smiles And How To Treat Them

A healthy smile is more than straight white teeth. Gums matter, too. When they are misshapen — either too large or too small — it can impact overall appearance.  One condition, known as gummy smile, is fairly common. It’s also treatable. Learn more about gummy smiles, what causes them and treatment options.

What Is a Gummy Smile?

Gummy smile occurs when the gums appear to droop over the teeth. The result is a smile that is somewhat obscured by the encroaching gums. It can also create an appearance of teeth that are smaller than usual. The diagnosis of a “gummy smile” can vary from patient to patient and largely has to do with how that individual feels about his or her smile. Since the negatives associated with gummy smile are largely cosmetic only, gummy smile is sometimes considered one of perception. That said, a general rule of thumb says that gums that extend more than one-eighth of an inch are considered gummy.

What Is the Cause?

The perfect smile (as defined on an individual basis) is one that is well balanced. A gummy smile is the result of an imbalance somewhere in the mouth. In general, here are the four causes of a gummy smile:

  • The gums. Often times, the issue is the gums themselves, as gum tissue can protrude farther than it should.
  • The teeth. The size and shape of the teeth can give the appearance of a gummy smile. If they are shaped in a way that keeps them hidden, the gums will appear to be larger than normal.
  • The jaw. The vertical position of your jaw can affect whether your smile appears overly gummy.
  • The lips. The length of a person’s upper lip can be too short and create an appearance of large gums; likewise, if the lip pulls back farther than normal, the result can be a gummy smile.

What Are the Downsides?

As noted above, the health concerns associated with a gummy smile are minimal. For that reason, it is more of a cosmetic issue. A person suffering from a gummy smile might feel self-conscious, and that can negatively impact a person’s self-esteem. In essence, a person seeking treatment for gummy smile most likely is looking to achieve the best smile possible in order to look and feel better.

How Are Gummy Smiles Treated?

The first step toward treating a gummy smile is to identify the cause; as noted above, since the cause may vary. It also depends on the severity of the problem. A few common treatments are as follows:

  • Lip repositioning. (not sure we do this) If the lips are the issue, they can be adjusted to reveal less of a person’s gums.
  • Laser treatment. This is a common option for patients when the gum tissue is the problem.
  • Braces. By realigning a person’s teeth, the appearance of a gummy smile can be reduced.
  • Surgery.  (will need dr to approve this) The gums and the bones to which they attach can be “sculpted” to reduce the appearance of a gummy smile.

If you suffer from a gummy smile, consult with a dental professional at Grove Dental Associates to determine the cause and possible remedy.