What is a Gummy Smile?

Everyone wants pink gums that are healthy around their teeth. Still, some people have a bit too much. People often say that someone has a “gummy” smile when there is a full layer of gum tissue between the upper lip and the upper teeth. There are many reasons why gummy smiles happen, so there are also many ways to fix them.

Causes of Gummy Smiles

When someone smiles, they may have too much gum showing. This can be caused by a problem with the gums or with the upper jaw.

Excess Gum Tissue

Some people just have a lot of gum tissue covering teeth that are the right size. The gums are covering more than they should be, which makes the teeth look smaller or shorter than usual. Even though these gums might be healthy, there are just too many of them. This kind of extra gum tissue happens on its own and is not caused by a disease or bad oral hygiene.

Unhealthy Gum Tissue

When inflammation and bad oral hygiene make gum tissues sick, they swell up and look bigger than usual. This kind of gummy smile is caused by a disease and needs to be fixed by a dentist for your health’s sake. This happens a lot when teens and young adults get braces. If they don’t clean around the brackets, the gums respond to the buildup of plaque by swelling and growing around the brackets and wires to fill in the spaces.

Improper Position of Upper Jaw

Rarely, a gummy smile is caused by the upper jaw not being in the right place. When the upper jaw grows longer than usual in a vertical direction, it pushes the upper teeth away from the nose and upper lip. This gummy smile is caused by how the face has grown and changed over time, not by the gums themselves.

Fixes for Gummy Smiles

So how do we fix these toothy smiles? It depends on what’s going on. We treat those caused by gum problems with treatment or surgery on the gums, and we treat those caused by jaw problems with surgery on the jaw.

Gum Surgery

If you have too much gum tissue, whether it is healthy or not, the best way to get a nice gum line and a beautiful smile is to get rid of the extra gum tissue. A dental laser will be used in a small surgery to remove this tooth. Healing is very quick, and there isn’t much pain after surgery. How you take care of yourself at home after this kind of procedure is important to how well you heal overall. Make sure to do everything the doctor tells you to do!

Jaw Surgery

When the upper jaw is too long, the only way to make it look better is to have surgery to move it. In the case of a misplaced upper jaw, we work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to plan and carry out the movement of the upper jaw into a more aesthetically pleasing and often more functional position. This not only makes your smile look better, but it also makes your face look and shape better as a whole.


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