Your smile is incredibly important in how the world perceives you, so you want it to be a winning one. Unfortunately, you feel that your smile is long on gums and short on pearly whites — known as a gummy smile.
There are solutions that put the focus back on your teeth when you smile. Here at Peninsula Dental Excellence, Drs. Colin Au and Jeff Yoshihara, along with our experienced dental team, offer comprehensive cosmetic dentistry services, including treatments for gummy smiles.
Behind your gummy smile
In layman’s terms, a gummy smile is one in which too much of your gum line shows when you smile. Defining a gummy smile can be difficult as it’s subjective, but most dental experts agree that 2-4 millimeters or more of visible gums can be considered a gummy smile.
You may have an excessive gingival display for several different reasons and diagnosing the underlying cause of your gummy smile helps to identify the right treatment option.
For example, you may have a gummy smile due to altered disruption of your teeth as a child, which may have caused excessive gum growth. Or, perhaps your upper teeth moved downward, pulling your gums with them.
Unrelated to your teeth and gums, your upper lip can also cause gummy smiles — perhaps it’s too short, or the muscles in your upper lip are overactive, pulling your lip too high.
Another issue may be an overly large upper jawbone that requires more gum growth.
Treating options for gummy smiles
Because several different factors can lead to a gummy smile, there are several different treatment options.
Excessive gums can be reshaped by a minor surgery called a gingivectomy. During this procedure, we trim back excessive gum tissue to reveal more of your tooth’s crown.
If your gummy smile is due to an overly large upper jawbone, this may require a more complex procedure that reshapes the bone.
If your lips are causing a gummy smile, there are options here, too. For example, if overactive muscles in your lips are drawing them upward too far, we can turn to Botox® injections to quiet those muscles.
If your upper lip is too short, we may try a minor surgery to release some of the connective tissues that anchor your lip to your jawbone to reposition your upper lip when you smile.
Another approach may be through orthodontic appliances that can push your teeth upward if they’ve descended too far.
As you can see, the first step toward resolving your gummy smile is to come visit us so we can determine what’s behind your gummy smile and how we can best resolve the issue. To get started, please contact our office in Mountain View, California.