Address: 3325 Premier Drive, Plano, TX 75023

How to Correct a Gummy Smile

The last thing people want to be self-conscious about is their smile. We smile when we’re happy and that allows people to connect with one another. But, as it turns out up to 10% of young adults think they have what is known as a gummy smile. Also referred to as excessive gingival display, this means that when a person smiles there is more gum showing than they would prefer. Understanding what causes a gummy smile can help with knowing what can be done to treat it.

Drs. Kari Blankenship and Bhavita Patel with Dental Renaissance have been serving the Plano, TX area for years with quality dental treatments for many conditions, including the gummy smile.

What causes a gummy smile?

It’s important to know that while having a gummy smile is the result of many things, specific cases will vary depending on the cause. Many causes are genetic, but some can come from medications. 

A small study done a few years ago indicates it can be passed down as a family trait. But even then, the results will vary. Altered passive eruption is one such example where the gums cover more teeth than normal as they were growing in. The teeth in front of the mouth can grow in too far (dentoalveolar extrusion) and the upper jaw can grow longer than normal (vertical maxillary excess). Shorter upper lips and hypermobile lips (when the lip moves a lot from its resting position during a smile) can also cause a gummy smile. Believe it or not, medications used for treating seizures, high blood pressure, or suppressing the immune system can also cause a gummy smile.

What treatments are available?

Because there are many causes for a gummy smile, there are many ways to treat it, including but not limited to:

Oral surgery

A gingivectomy or gum contouring is a procedure that is used to remove excess gum tissue. It is used for other dental conditions but for a gummy smile, it is a permanent solution, as the excess gum won’t grow back.

Lip repositioning surgery

If certain conditions of the lip (like a hypermobile lip) are the cause of a gummy smile, then it may be necessary to perform this procedure. This method will change the position of your lip by removing some of the connective tissue from the underside of the upper lip.

Orthognathic surgery

In the case of a gummy smile resulting from a longer upper jaw, orthognathic surgery may be necessary. This procedure will even out the length of the upper jaw to reduce the appearance of a gummy smile. This method requires a lot of planning, so it is chosen carefully.

Botox

Hypermobile lips may also be treated with botox, which would result in paralyzing the muscles in the upper lip that cause the condition. It is less invasive than other treatments and has had great success in a 2016 study.

The treatment that works best will depend on the cause, and Dental Renaissance has many ways to treat a gummy smile. If you have a gummy smile and are ready for the right treatment for you, make an appointment with Dr. Blankenship, Dr. Patel, and Dental Renaissance today.

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