In the realm of cosmetic dentistry, the pursuit of a perfect smile is a quest that knows no bounds. For those dissatisfied with the appearance of their teeth, a host of concerns can plague their self-confidence. Teeth too small, chipped, crooked, yellowed, or beset by unsightly gaps can all conspire to mar the charm of a smile. 

Yet, beyond the teeth themselves, another common vexation is a condition known as the ‘gummy smile.’ This enigma, which causes individuals to reveal an excess of gum tissue when they grin, can be as subtle as it is troubling. Thankfully, several treatments exist to address this concern, offering both temporary reprieve and enduring transformation.

What Exactly Is a Gummy Smile?

A gummy smile, scientifically designated as “Excessive Gingival Display,” manifests when an undue proportion of gum tissue unveils itself above the upper teeth during a smile. Though the assessment of a gummy smile is primarily visual, it is generally agreed that exposure of more than 4 millimetres of gum tissue constitutes a telltale sign. 

If a gummy smile is a regular part of your day, your first port of call should be the dentist’s chair. There, a number of tests and x-rays will be administered to determine the root cause of your affliction so a fitting remedy can be proffered.

Causes Of Gummy Smile

The origins of a gummy smile are manifold, rooted in issues concerning teeth, gums, lips, and jaws.

  • Gum Issues: Gum tissue can encroach excessively over the teeth, driven by factors such as mouth breathing, medication side effects, or subpar dental hygiene. This leaves a significant portion of the tooth hidden beneath the gum.
  • Tooth Issues: Teeth may become small due to genetics or wear and tear over time. In an effort to maintain proper bite and alignment, top teeth might naturally migrate downward further than nature intended. The gums inescapably follow with each descent, rendering teeth shorter and gums longer.
  • Lip Issues: An overly hyperactive lip can pull back excessively during a smile, revealing abundant gum tissue. On the other hand, a short lip may expose too much gum even when the teeth and jaw are of standard dimensions.
  • Jaw Issues: The most prevalent cause of a gummy smile is the disproportionate length of the upper jaw in relation to lip tissue that masks the gums. This results in excessive gum exposition on both sides of the teeth.

Gummy Smile Treatment Options

Once your dentist has detected the underlying cause(s) of your gummy smile, an array of treatment options awaits consideration, each varying in cost, complexity, durability, and associated risks. They include:

  1. Orthodontic Treatment: 

In cases where gummy smiles are rooted in tooth issues, braces can be used to reposition teeth within the gums. Subsequently, cosmetic dental enhancements like veneers or crowns can be employed to restore tooth structure, ensuring proper alignment between upper and lower teeth.

  1. Gingivectomy/Gum Lift: 

When the causal factor is gum overgrowth, a gingivectomy, colloquially known as a ‘gum lift,’ emerges as the optimal remedy. Typically administered in a single dental appointment, this periodontal surgery employs laser technology to reshape and remove surplus gum tissue. The outcome? Reduced gum height, enhanced gum line symmetry, and a more tooth-centric, radiant smile.

  1. Dental Prophylaxis: 

Swollen gums, often due to gum disease or certain medications, can be alleviated through professional teeth cleaning, which entails consultation with a certified dental healthcare provider.

  1. Lip Surgery: 

Through permanent surgical interventions by oral or plastic surgeons, hyperactive lips can be tamed to restrict excessive lip motion. Conversely, a more intricate surgical approach may be required for lips that are excessively short. This approach can prove more challenging as it entails navigating through scar tissue and carefully considering the effects of lip lengthening on your smile.

  1. Jaw Surgery: 

In extreme cases where jaw dimensions far exceed the norm (with more than 7mm of gum exposure), Orthognathic surgery, performed by a specialised orthodontist or oral surgeon, becomes the choice remedy. This intricate procedure entails surgical repositioning of the entire jaw, elevating it to a more aligned configuration.

Conclusion

The path to a captivating grin, it seems, is not merely paved with pearly white teeth but also the appearance of minimal gum tissue. In your journey to attain the ideal smile, these treatments promise relief if you grapple with a gummy smile. Suppose you’re looking to reel in that gummy smile, The Walton Practice in Surrey is a dental and facial aesthetic clinic specialising in all the treatments mentioned above.