Before we dive into some of the cosmetic dentistry options that can fix a gummy smile, it’s important to know what can cause it in the first place. Some of the most common causes of a gummy smile include:
Abnormal Tooth Eruption
One of the most common causes behind a gummy smile is the way the teeth develop and erupt. When there’s too much growth in the gum tissue it can expand up and over, essentially hiding teeth. This can create the appearance of short teeth and a gummy smile. However, oftentimes the teeth are fully developed and can be uncovered. An abundance of gum tissue can be genetic or can be a result of medication of an infection in the gums.
A Bad Bite
At your dental appointments, your dentist in St. Joseph will ask you to bite down and touch your top teeth to your bottom teeth in order to check your bite alignment. This can help identify several things such as a potential problem with your jaw. A bad bite may also be the reason behind a gummy smile. For example, if the upper jaw protrudes too far outward can create a gummy appearance.
Hyperactive Upper Lip
While something called a hyperactive upper lip may seem silly, it’s a very real thing. Sometimes the muscles in the upper lip and under the nose are too active. Over time, this overuse can bring the top lip up too high, exposing the gums. This cause of a gummy smile is often hereditary.
Your dentist in St. Joseph will need to know the root cause of a gummy smile in order to recommend the best treatment for your specific situation.
Treatment of a gummy smile can vary greatly depending on the case. But some of the most common solutions are:
Scaling & Root Planing
If the cause of a gummy smile is an infection, your dentist will probably recommend beginning with a scaling and root planing deep cleaning. This treatment can be very effective at removing infection and reducing inflammation that may make the gums appear larger than normal. If scaling and root planing treatment doesn’t give a patient the result they desire, there are additional treatments available.
Crown Lengthening/Gum Recontouring
Other common and often successful treatments for a gummy smile are crown lengthening or gum recontouring, which are pretty much exactly what they sound like. These procedures remove excess tissue around the teeth and restructure the gum line allowing more of the white enamel to show.
A gummy smile caused by a bad bite may best be treated through orthodontics, including traditional braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign or ClearCorrect. Orthodontics can also help fix a bad bite in general and may relieve jaw pain or other oral health problems related to a bad bite.
If you notice more of your gums showing when you smile, laugh, or talk, and it bothers you, schedule a consultation with your dentist in St. Joseph.