If you’re concerned about the amount of gum tissue that shows when your smile, you’re not alone. Some dental experts estimate that as many as 10 percent of adults have gummy smiles, and the condition is more common among women.
While a gummy smile is usually considered a cosmetic issue rather than a functional one, it can still impact your day-to-day life. You may feel self-conscious about your appearance and may even avoid laughing or smiling in social situations.
Fortunately, there are several ways to treat a gummy smile, depending on its cause. Here’s what you need to know about this condition and how your dentist can correct it:
What Is a Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile, also known as excessive gingival display, is a smile that shows an excess of gum tissue around the teeth. Dental professionals generally define a gummy smile as having more than three millimeters of exposed gum.
A variety of issues can cause this condition. The following are some of the most common causes of a gummy smile:
- Abnormal dental development during childhood can cause your teeth to remain partially covered by your gums.
- You may have a genetic predisposition to have an excessive amount of gum tissue.
- A hyperactive muscle in your upper lip can cause it to rise higher than it should, exposing more of your gum line.
- Your top jaw may not correctly align with your bottom jaw, causing the top jaw to protrude and create a gummy look.
How Do You Fix a Gummy Smile?
Make an appointment with your dentist to learn what’s causing your gummy smile, as well as how to fix it. There are a number of dental treatments that can correct this condition, including:
- Crown Lengthening – This procedure helps to reshape and remove excess gum tissue. It exposes more of the crowns of your teeth, making your teeth look longer and your smile appear less gummy.
- Botulinum Toxin (Botox®) Injections – Botox is a well-known cosmetic procedure that smooths facial lines and wrinkles. However, it has many additional applications, including as a treatment for gummy smiles. Botox injections can help correct hyperactive lip muscles that expose excess gum tissue. Typically, you’ll need to repeat the procedure every six months to a year to maintain your results.
- Orthodontic Treatment – Orthodontic appliances or surgery can push your teeth upward and correct a gummy smile.
- Veneers or Crowns – If you don’t have an underlying oral health issue causing excessive gingival display, getting veneers or crowns may help enhance your smile’s appearance. Veneers or crowns can make your teeth look longer, helping them appear more proportionate to your gums.
If you have a gummy smile, contact your dental professional for a consultation. They can determine the cause of the condition and recommend the ideal treatment to improve your smile aesthetics and self-confidence. You’ll soon find yourself proud to show off your new smile!