When you look at yourself in the mirror, are your gums all you see?
Your teeth look small by comparison, and you sigh. What can you do? After all, Grandma had the exact same smile. It runs in the family.
Yes, your gene pool may be one of the reasons your gums – instead of your teeth – smile back at you from the mirror. In addition to genetics, though, gummy smiles can come from any of these causes:
Gums that didn’t shrink back to size after your adult teeth erupted
When you lost your baby teeth, your permanent teeth grew into place, moving through your gums in the process. Dentists call that process ‘eruption’. In most cases, after the teeth erupt and are firmly in place, your gum tissue will recede so that only about a centimetre of your gums show when you smile. In some patients, though, the gum tissue does not recede, or the teeth do not erupt as far as they should. That creates a smile that shows more gum than normal—a gummy smile.
Teeth that didn’t erupt far enough out of your jawbone
Sometimes, too much of your teeth remain in the bone during the growth period, meaning the top half of your teeth don’t grow out completely. That, too, can create a gummy appearance.
Excessive wear on your teeth
If you grind your teeth as you sleep or habitually eat hard or sticky foods, your teeth may shrink in size due to the wear and tear. This causes your teeth to begin to erupt again, just as they did when they first came in. It helps them achieve a normal size to continue functioning properly. Unfortunately, your gums also move downward, creating a gummy appearance in your smile.
If your upper lip is too short, it won’t cover your gums when you smile. A similar effect occurs when your lip moves upward too much when you smile. This phenomenon, called hypermobility, can also cause a gummy smile.
If your top teeth erupt too far, it can create an overbite. This condition makes it more difficult to bite and chew food properly. It can also cause your smile to show too much gum. If an overbite caused your gummy smile, it becomes more than a cosmetic issue. It can even impact your overall health. Left untreated, it can even contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, because your jaw has to work harder to do its job, leading to overuse injury in the joint itself.
Consult a Cosmetic Dentist About Your Gummy Smile
But don’t fret; there is something you can do. If you don’t like the look of your smile, take charge. Make an appointment to see your dentist. Your dentist will take your health history, examine your teeth, and recommend a solution.
Your dentist will first check your gums and teeth to figure out the cause of your gummy smile. Your dentist may also recommend X-rays and impressions to better diagnose what has caused the condition. Once they pinpoint the cause, your dentist should be able to create a treatment plan.
The solution: relief is just around the corner
Your gummy smile can recede into the past when you choose one of the treatments your dentist recommends. These treatments may include:
Your dentist may be able to move your teeth into a more attractive position with orthodontic appliances—either braces or an invisible alignment system. Occasionally, a tooth extraction must be performed to allow the teeth to move. After the teeth are back in their proper place, your dentist may need to add crowns, bridges, or even porcelain restorations to create a dazzling smile.
There are a number of oral surgery procedures that can be employed to correct a gummy smile, including periodontal surgery, jaw surgery, or lip surgery. However, these procedures are usually only recommended for severe cases that also impact your overall health and wellbeing.
One of the major developments in cosmetic dentistry over the past few years has been the use of muscle relaxants to stabilise patients’ upper lips. In this procedure, dentists inject muscle relaxants such as Botox medication into your upper lip. The medication paralyses the overactive muscles that make your upper lip fly up when you smile, instantly creating a gum-free smile.
If your upper lip moves up too far when you smile, you might be a candidate for this minimally invasive, low-cost treatment. Many patients prefer these treatments, which need to be repeated only two to four times a year, to surgery or orthodontic devices, since they cost little, compared to surgery or orthodontia.
Because muscle relaxant treatments are minimally invasive and come at a much lower cost than other treatments, many patients prefer them to other solutions to make their gummy smile go away.
With the new muscle relaxant techniques and other high-tech solutions, the expert cosmetic dental team at Smilecare Dental can treat most gummy smiles right in the clinic. To discover how our dentists can create the smile of your dreams, call today for your personal consultation or read more about how SmileCare treat Gummy Smiles and possible procedures. Your new smile awaits you!