What Is a Gummy Smile, and What Are My Options To Fix It?

Know the ways to fix a gummy smile

What is a gummy smile?

Do you have a gummy smile? You know, a smile that seems to show just as much of your gums as your teeth? Gummy smiles can cause a sense of insecurity for patients who have them. So if your smile presents more of your gumline than you want it to, what are your options to fix it?

There is no specific definition of a gummy smile, as it can be subjective. In theory, however, a gummy smile is when you have more gum tissue showing than desired. Various circumstances can cause a gummy smile. The most common are:

  • A bad bite
  • A hyperactive or short upper lip
  • Too much gum tissue

And the good news is that if your gummy smile keeps you from smiling as much as you would like, there are options to fix it. The best solution will vary from patient to patient as the root cause of your gummy smile will determine the best treatment.

Gummy Smile Treatment

If you have a gummy smile and want it corrected, the best next step is to request a consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will assess the cause during that appointment and discuss your smile goals. This information will then direct you and your dentist toward your ideal treatment. Typical gummy smile treatments include the following.

1. Scaling and Root Planing

If your gum tissue seems excessive or swollen, it may be from infection caused by hardened plaque below the gumline. Your dentist will recommend scaling and root planing (also known as a deep cleaning) if this is the case. The scaling process involves your hygienist removing the hardened plaque, or tartar, from your tooth, including the root surface under the gumline. After scaling, your hygienist will smooth out the roots of your teeth so that your gums can reattach. As the gum tissue heals, it will shrink back down to normal size.

2. Crown Lengthening 

If your dentist determines that your gummy smile is due to too much gum tissue covering your teeth, they may recommend a crown-lengthening treatment. This simple surgical procedure removes excess gum tissue, and bone when necessary, around your tooth to expose more of the tooth structure. Crown lengthening improves symmetry and leaves you with a smile that you’ll be more pleased with. 

Crown lengthening is usually the best option for those with teeth that appear shorter than they actually are. It’s also a common step in treating teeth with hard-to-reach cavities or that don’t have enough tooth structure exposed to allow a dental crown or other dental restoration to fit properly. 

3. Gum Contouring

Gum contouring, sometimes referred to as gingival contouring, permanently smooths out your uneven gumline and can involve both removing excess tissue and grafting to re-cover specific areas. This is a cosmetic dental treatment that can help give you the smile you desire. Gum contouring can also help reduce your chances of developing periodontitis.

Gum contouring is often the best choice for patients who have an uneven or irregular gumline. It is also great for reshaping the gums around teeth that appear unusually long or where there is recession above one or more of your teeth. 

4. Upper Lip Botox Injections

When we think of Botox (botulinum toxin), we often think of fixing wrinkles in our forehead or to diminish the appearance of crow’s-feet near our eyes. But Botox can help treat a gummy smile too. In fact, just one or two units of Botox injected between your upper lip and nose freezes select muscles that contract when you smile. The result? A smile that shows more of those pearly whites and less of the gums.

5. Orthodontic Treatment

In some cases, a gummy smile is caused by a bad bite or a jaw issue. In these situations, orthodontic treatment may be in order. By treating the underlying issue, you can not only relieve yourself of any pain or discomfort caused by TMJ or misalignment but also fix that gummy appearance. Braces or Invisalign is often used to reposition the teeth and lessen the prominence of the gum tissue. 

Your favorite cosmetic dentist near Anchorage, Alaska, can fix your smile.

If you have a gummy smile and want a smile makeover, your dentist near Anchorage, Alaska, is here to help. Dr. Robinson at Valley Dental Clinic is well versed in helping patients achieve the smile they have always wanted. So if you are ready to make the change, request an appointment either by calling our office or using our online form. During your initial consultation, we’ll review your concerns and help you form an optimal treatment plan. So what are you waiting for? Request your appointment with Valley Dental Clinic today.