When you smile, too much gum tissue can make you feel self-conscious and prevent you from putting your best face forward. The good news is that your dentist may be able to help you with this problem.
What is a Gummy Smile?
A smile with more than two millimetres of exposed gum normally qualifies as a gummy smile. There can be many reasons for this type of smile, including:
- Short or hyperactive upper lip muscles, which results in the lifting of the lip upwards.
- Unusual or altered eruptions of the tooth or teeth during childhood
- The upper teeth move downward
- Excessive growth of the upper jawbone
Crown lengthening, botulinum toxin (BT) injections, and orthodontic treatment and surgery are the three main treatment options for a gummy smile. Depending on your specific needs, your dentist will discuss these options with you and develop a treatment plan that may include one or more of them.
To expose more of the tooth, a crown lengthening procedure involves removing some of the gum tissue. The gum line will be sculpted to make it go higher up in another part of the procedure. A periodontist will usually perform the second stage, which involves sculpting the gum line.
Whether just one part of the procedure or both will be needed depends on each individual patient. Your dental team will discuss your treatment process with you in great detail before getting started to ensure you understand what will happen.
Botulinum Toxin (BT) Injections
It's natural to think of botox injections as a treatment for wrinkles and fine lines, but they can be used for dental treatments as well.
Botox can be used to treat gummy smiles by relaxing overactive upper lip muscles. Treatment usually entails a series of very small injections spread out over three to six months. Injections must be repeated every six months to a year after this treatment is completed.
Orthodontic Treatment or Surgery
If the excessive growth of the upper jaw bone is causing the gummy smile, orthodontic treatment and surgery may be required. To correct the problem, an orthodontist may use a special appliance to push the teeth upward. They may also collaborate with a team of dental surgeons to surgically move the teeth upwards if necessary.