Gummy Smile Correction
There is a natural diversity in the amount of gum that shows during a smile. Some people show no gum at all above their top front teeth when they smile. Others show a great deal of gum, sometimes even when their lips are at rest.
While there is no strict definition, a smile might be considered a “gummy smile” when there is at least 2-3mm of gum showing.
The presence of a gummy smile doesn’t always require treatment, and many people who show their gums when they smile aren’t at all troubled by the aesthetics.
But if the owner of a gummy smile doesn’t like the way they look, then treatment is possible and may well be a positive thing to do.
It’s critical for the cause of the excessive display of gums to be accurately diagnosed. If the diagnosis is incorrect, a non-ideal treatment may be suggested or sought.
What Causes A Gummy Smile?
The appearance of a person’s smile is influenced by:
- the shape, size and colour of the teeth
- the size and natural movements of the lips
- the underlying position of the teeth (in three dimensions)
- the amount and position of the underlying jawbone (also in three dimensions).
When all of these are in balance, a smile will predominantly display the upper teeth and little to no gum. If any of these factors are out of balance with the others, excessive gum tissue may show during smiling.
The factors most likely to cause a gummy smile are:
- an unusually long upper jaw (maxilla)
- unusual tooth wear or eruption patterns of the teeth
- a naturally short lip
- a hyperactive lip, whose muscles contract more strongly than usual and lift the lip too high during a smile
Treatment of A Gummy Smile
Once your dentist diagnoses the cause of the gummy smile, they can recommend treatment.
If the diagnosis is an overgrowth of the bone, tooth wear or problems with eruption, the ideal treatment will likely be extensive. It may involve orthodontics (teeth straightening) or surgery (to correct the overgrowth of bone or to reshape or recontour the gum).
If too much gum is showing due to overgrowth of the bone, tooth wear or problems with eruption, the ideal treatment will likely be orthodontic (teeth straightening) or surgery (to correct the overgrowth of bone or to reshape or recontour the gum).
If hyperactive muscles are responsible, a far quicker, less invasive treatment is available.
Gummy Smile Correction Using Muscle Relaxers
When the cause of the gummy smile is a hyperactive lip, muscle relaxer injections can be used to tone down this activity. The relaxed lip can’t be lifted as high as before, and, during a smile, a lot less pink is on display.
This treatment can be completed in our rooms in a single appointment. The full effect is seen within a fortnight and lasts around four months. Post-treatment discomfort is generally minimal and adverse reactions unusual, but there are always risks associated with any invasive procedure. These will be carefully explained to you during your consultation appointment.
Beautiful Lips By Alma Dental
To discuss treatment of your gummy smile or any other lip enhancements, please call our practice to make an appointment with Dr Dee-Anna Luong.