In our office we ask patients what is the one thing they would change about their smile if they could. While many of our patients express that they would like to have whiter teeth or straighter teeth, there are also a fair number of patients who mention wanting to address their “gummy” smile. When they smile, they feel they show more gum tissue and less tooth than is considered ideal. The gum tissue above their upper teeth is very noticeable. For some, this causes a lack of confidence and can inhibit them from smiling.
What Causes a Gummy Smile?
Sometimes the gum tissue can be overgrown and inflamed due to gum disease. If this is the case, a dental cleaning along with improved oral hygiene can improve the condition of the gums.
But the more common cause is cosmetic. The gum tissue appears more prominent because the teeth are misaligned—that is, the teeth are not at the same height or not in the proper position. In this instance, the gum line position can be evened out with braces; traditional or Invisalign, depending on the severity of the case.
Sometimes the teeth are in the proper alignment but the smile still seems gummy. In this case, a dental laser can be used to trim the gum tissue above the tooth to a more ideal height. The result is that the tooth appears longer and the gum is less noticeable. This can be done quickly, often with just topical anesthetic.
Whatever the cause, there is treatment for a gummy smile. A consultation with your dentist can determine the best course of treatment.