4 Main Causes of a Gummy Smile and How to Fix It

4 Main Causes of a Gummy Smile and How to Fix It

Jun 01, 2021

What is a Gummy Smile?

There is no exact definition of a gummy smile. The description largely rests in the eye of the beholder. However, your perception of a gumline can be affected by the following factors.

  • The way the lips move when you smile
  • The height and shape of your teeth
  • The angle of your jaw compared to the rest of the face

The Causes of a Gummy Smile

  • Lip Differences: A gummy smile can develop if your upper lip is shorter than the lower lip. A gummy smile can also be a result of a condition known as hypermobile. In this condition, your lips tend to move abnormally whenever you smile. This leads to exposure to your gumline.
  • Abnormal Growth of Teeth: A gummy smile can develop if your gums cover more of your teeth’ surface during growth. This condition is known as altered passive eruption. Moreover, if your frontal teeth excessively over erupted more than your gums, it may result in a gummy smile. This condition is also known as dentoalveolar extrusion.
  • A gummy smile can also be caused by a condition known as vertical maxillary excess. This occurs when your upper jaw’s bones outgrow their standard length. 
  • Medications: A condition known as gingival hyperplasia caused by specific medications can cause the gums to grow excessively more than your teeth. Also, drugs used to mitigate seizures, suppress a patient’s immune system, or treat conditions such as high blood pressure can favor an overgrowth of gums. 

How to Fix a Gummy Smile

Even though a recent study proved a gummy smile to be genetic, here are some of Houston Heights Dentistry options used to salvage the condition.

  • Lip Repositioning Surgery: We can perform a lip repositioning surgery if the lips are the leading cause of a gummy smile. The procedure is vital to position your lips relative to your teeth. We do it by extracting a portion of the connective tissues from underneath your upper lip. This will aid in preventing the elevator muscles on the affected area of your lip and nose from lifting your upper lip excessively from your frontal teeth.
  • Oral Surgery: Oral surgery involves performing a gingivectomy or gum contouring procedure to trim or remove or reshape the extra gum tissue covering the surface of your teeth. The method may require one or more sessions depending on the severity of the condition.
  • Orthognathic Surgery: This type of gingival surgery is essential to the restoration and balancing of your upper and lower jaws. Notably, this is a complex procedure and may require inputs from a maxillofacial surgeon and an orthodontist. Also, you are likely to have a single or more mouth scan to determine the unproportionate positioning of the jaws. We may also recommend our patients put on bracelets to ensure their teeth and arches are well aligned.
  • Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs): Some patients may be adamant about undertaking surgery. In such cases, we conduct an assessment and recommend using TADs to reposition their teeth and reduce a gummy smile. 
  • Botox: This is an injection of botulinum toxin used to restore the normal movement of lips over the gumline. The method is cheaper than surgeries, but you will require repeated injections for 3-4 months.

Can Braces Fix Gummy Smile?

Brace usage, whether metal braces or clear aligners, is an alternative to gummy smile treatment surgeries. They are renowned for pulling the teeth and jaws into their ideal alignment, reducing the amount of gum tissue shown in a smile.

Tips for Choosing a Dentist Near Me

Most patients are usually stuck in this process, but here are the essential factors to consider.

  • Do due diligence: Ask around for leads, visit their website, and read through the reviews. Ensure you draft a comparison matrix to narrow down the search and schedule an appointment before settling on the ideal candidate
  • Choose a dentist accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA): You can visit ADA’s website in your search for a gummy smile treatment near me and search for one operating in your locality
  • Check with your insurance provider if the treatment facility is in their panel

A gummy smile should not deter you from going about your errands. Keep in mind the World will always be a better place if your smile lights it up, regardless of how it comes out.

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