A beautiful smile depends on a proper balance of teeth and gums. Many people are unhappy because their teeth seem short and they have prominent gums. Fortunately, the problem of having a “gummy smile,” can be corrected, helping you have a more attractive smile. During your consultation, we can talk about the causes of your gummy smile and what’s the best treatment approach for you.
The Benefits of Correcting a Gummy Smile
The main reason to correct a gummy smile is because it makes you unhappy. If you aren’t happy with your smile, you’re less likely to share it. This can make you feel unhappy in social situations and can impact your confidence in personal and professional relationships.
Your smile is not just part of your appearance, it’s your ambassador: it introduces you to people you meet for the first time. It’s also an essential component of your personal brand. It’s how people remember and think of you.
In addition, a recent study looked at the impact of correcting gummy smiles. Several patients who were unhappy with a gummy smile had their pictures taken. Then computer imaging was used to simulate the effects of a gummy smile revision. Then raters, made up of a combination of dentists and laypeople, were shown a mix of the modified and unmodified images (never seeing both pictures for a single patient) and were asked to rate the person’s:
The results showed that the images with longer teeth were rated significantly higher in all five characteristics. Dentists and laypeople were roughly in agreement on the ratings.
So, although you are the primary audience for your more attractive smile, you may also benefit from improved perception by others.
What Causes a Gummy Smile?
There are many potential causes for gummy smile, including:
- Teeth that didn’t fully erupt
- Irregular shape of jaw
- Overgrown gums
- Teeth that are naturally short
- Teeth that are worn down
- High smile line
Identifying the cause of your gummy smile is crucial to finding the right treatment for you.
Treating Gummy Smile
If your teeth didn’t fully erupt or if the jaw is an irregular shape, orthodontics might be recommended. However, in some cases, we might recommend other treatments. In some cases, myofunctional therapy might be able to encourage the reshaping of the jaw or the realignment of teeth.
If overgrown gum tissue is the problem, then we might be able to correct it with laser gum recontouring. However, if the teeth are still partly contained within your jawbone, we might have to perform surgery that frees them from the bone. Or we might proceed as though the teeth were naturally short.
If your teeth are short we have to lengthen them. Teeth may be shorter either genetically or because of wear related to bruxism and other causes of tooth wear and erosion. Teeth can be lengthened with porcelain veneers or dental crowns, depending on how much support the tooth needs.
If a high smile line is the problem, BOTOX ® injections can be used to relax the muscles of the upper lip so they don’t pull up as much. This helps balance the smile and reduce the display of gums in the upper arch. However, this is a short-term treatment and doesn’t work for everyone. In some cases, surgery may be recommended.
Do you want to learn what’s causing your gummy smile and how best to treat it, please call 703-323-8200 today for a cosmetic dentistry appointment with Fairfax County, VA dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban in Burke.