A gummy smile is a common condition when your upper gums seem larger or more prominent than normal… or simply larger and more prominent than you would prefer. There are several potential causes for gumminess. What’s behind any person’s own gummy smile will influence exactly what can be done about it if you’d like to make changes.
Gums to teeth proportionality
While there is a lot of variability from person to person, there are some typical ratios when it comes to the apparent size of teeth. Typically, a person’s teeth are 10mm (one centimetre) long, and their width is commonly roughly three-quarters of that length. A gummy smile is one that shows more than four millimetres of gum tissue. If more than four millimetres is visible, it can cause your teeth to look shorter than normal.
Your gummy smile may simply be a result of normal human variability when it comes to any one of those factors — tooth length, tooth width, and gum depth — and how they interact with each other. If this is your situation, gummy smile surgery in Gilbert will consist of periodontal plastic surgery that is often called crown lengthening surgery. The surgery does not actually lengthen your teeth, but removes some excess gum tissue and reshapes what is left behind. The removal and reshaping of that extra gum tissue changes the proportions of your teeth to your gums, and increases the visible length of your teeth.
If the proportions of your teeth to your gums appears to fall within the normal range, your gummy smile may not be a matter of natural human variation. Your gummy smile may be related to the movement of your upper lip. Some people have upper lips with a wider range of motion than others. Typically when someone smiles, your upper lip moves up and away from their resting position by roughly six to eight millimetres. When it does so, it reveals more gum tissue beneath than is visible when you’re mouth is in a resting position.
If you have lip hypermobility — a more mobile upper lip than usual — your upper lip may move farther up and away from your teeth when you smile, thus revealing more gum tissue than normal. If the amount of visible gum tissue is related to lip hypermobility, there may be no need for gummy smile surgery near you. Instead, the solution may be as simple as a Botox injection to paralyze the muscles that retract your lips from their resting position as you smile.
If Botox does not reduce your lip hypermobility enough to resolve your aesthetic concerns, surgery may be an option to alter the muscle attachments. If your gummy smile is attributable to the less common overextended upper jaw, orthognathic surgery may also be an option.
For many people concerned about a gummy smile, their aesthetic desires aren’t serious enough to warrant surgery if there is no underlying medical condition. If you’d prefer not to undergo gummy smile surgery in Gilbert, your dentist will be able to offer other and cosmetic options to improve the appearance and apparent size of your teeth including orthodontics, bonding, and veneers.
The first step to eliminating a gummy smile that undermines your appearance is to determine just how it’s caused. With that information and after carefully reviewing your mouth and medical history, your dentist will identify the full range of options for giving you the smile you want. To discuss your options for addressing your gummy smile, contact a dentist near you for an assessment to determine how it was caused and what you’d like to achieve.