When a person smiles, they have a “gummy smile” which is characterised by excessive gums. It is not an unusual occurrence. It is comparable to a person with a single eyelid.
Single eyelids are perfectly acceptable, but some people believe that having double eyelids gives them more confidence. The same is true for a gummy smile. While it is normal, some people prefer not to have one. This is because exposing too much gum when you smile can detract from a beautiful set of teeth.
So, what are the causes of a gummy smile, and how can it be fixed?
1. Under-eruption Teeth
Gummy smiles can be caused by more local factors such as tooth “under-eruption,” which results in short tooth height and excessive gums showing.
Gum surgery may be required to correct a gummy smile caused by the factor mentioned above. This is a minor surgical procedure that is typically performed under local anaesthesia. It entails gum recontouring and, in some cases, dental bone removal.
Many patients believe that trimming “extra” gum away can efficiently resolve excessive gum. Unfortunately, this is not always true. A qualified gum surgeon (Periodontist) should examine the level of the bone beneath the gum to provide you with the best and most stable long-term outcome.
2. Teeth Deterioration (Attrition)
Excessive tooth wear from teeth grinding or erosion from a disproportionate amount of acid (due to gastric reflux or frequent consumption of acidic food and sports drinks) can also cause the tooth height to appear short.
The top and bottom teeth can erode and leave a small gap. Then, the jaw bone and gum will migrate downwards, allowing the top and bottom teeth to meet again. As a result, the gum on top appears to be longer.
Treatment for a gummy smile caused by tooth wear:
- Gum surgery to reshape the gums.
- Teeth reconstruction, such as veneers or crowns, restores and redesigns the smile by restoring worn teeth.
3) Excessive Growth of the Upper Jaw
In other cases, it could be due to a jaw developmental issue in which the upper jaw grew excessively, giving the appearance of a gummy smile.
Orthodontics (braces) and more complex jaw surgeries are required in such cases (Orthognathic surgery).
As can be seen, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a gummy smile. This is because a gummy smile can be caused by under-erupted teeth, tooth wear, or excessive upper jaw growth.
A lousy solution may cause more problems or fail to deliver the desired outcome. Therefore, it is critical to schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine which treatment option is best for you if that excess gum prevents you from having the smile you desire!