How to Fix a Gummy Smile
Your teeth and your smile are one of the first things that people notice about you. For people who have gummy smiles, first encounters can make the, feel self-conscious or downright embarrassed to smile. In this age of selfies, Instagram, and Facebook, those people who have gummy smiles tend to avoid taking photos altogether or find themselves having to feign a smile – which can often lead to an insincere look on their face.
In the past, the only way to fix a gummy smile was to undergo complicated and expensive surgery to remove excess gum tissue. Fortunately, there are many modern-day alternatives that don’t require going under the knife. We’re going to look at what a gummy smile is as well as several surgical and non-surgical options that are available.
What is a Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile is more of a general term used to describe excessive gum tissue that shows prominently when people smile. There isn’t a set definition as to what exactly constitutes a gummy smile. It’s all based on aesthetics and perception. What may be considered excessive to one person, might be completely normal to another.
Being that a gummy smile is a subjective matter, dentists have tried to determine what levels of gum tissue shown when smiling could constitute the condition. Several studies have been performed and the dental and medical communities agree that smiles are considered attractive when 2mm or less of gum tissue is showing. If more than 3mm of gum tissue starts to show when someone smiles, it’s considered a gummy smile.
Gummy smiles are not a medical condition as such. They are perfectly normal and due entirely to genetics. Around 14% of women and 7% of men are thought to have excessive gum tissue.
Modern society and the advent of social media has caused an explosion in gummy smile treatments world-wide. Wanting to increase their self confidence and look their best, many people are turning to dentists to help alleviate the excessive gum tissue on their upper jaw.
4 ways to fix a gummy smile
There are several surgical and non-surgical options for those who have a gummy smile. There are varying degrees of a gummy smile that range from mild to excessive. Those who suffer from a mild gingival display can see a dramatic improvement with the non-surgical options. However, if the gingival case is more severe, then surgery might be the only option. Being that a gummy smile is not a medical condition – only a cosmetic one – there are very few insurance policies that will cover the cost of a cosmetic procedure.
Lip repositioning surgery – This process involves restricting the movement of the upper lip by cutting into it, removing a strip of tissue, then suturing it shut into a more desirable, aesthetically pleasing position. The surgery is performed under local anesthesia and usually lasts 30-45 minutes. The benefits are seen immediately, and recovery is usually mild. There could be some swelling and/or bruising but that will dissipate as time goes by.
Veneers – In this procedure, a mold is taken of your teeth and sent off to a laboratory. A few weeks later and your dentist will receive the veneers and apply them to your teeth. The dentist will shape and re-position them in order to create the perfect smile and lessen the appearance of the gums. It’s important to choose your dentist carefully as veneers require a certain level of artistry.
Botox – Botox is injected above the upper lip which prevents it from lifting up when smiling. The procedure is safe, quick, and the patient can return to normal everyday activities after it has been performed. The only downside to using Botox is that it is not permanent and will need to be repeated every six months or so.
Laser or scalpel gum gingivectomy – In this procedure, a laser or scalpel is used to trim excessive gum tissue. It sounds more painful than it really is. Local anesthetic is used, and the patient can return to normal everyday activities when they leave the dental office. There is a slight chance that the gum tissue will grow back in a few months and the procedure will need to be repeated again. This is usually due to too much bone being underneath the gums of some patients.
Fix Your Gummy Smile on the Magnificent Mile
A gummy smile is directly caused by the jaws, lips, teeth, or gums. These four components are responsible for the aesthetics of your smile. When the positioning or proportions of anyone of these are off, excessive gum tissue is usually the result.
If you feel that your smile is showing a bit too much gum tissue, give us a call or schedule an appointment. At Water Tower Dental Care, we’ve helped many people with gummy smiles regain their confidence and ability to smile!