Knowing is different to seeing
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There are few things more beautiful than a perfectly balanced smile, with bright white teeth and healthy pink gums. Even the thought of the perfect smile is enough to make us feel happier, isn’t it?
But not everyone is as fortunate to have been blessed with a proportionate, balanced smile. There are some who are very conscious about their smile, because they feel that their gums are way too prominent. This is a condition commonly known as a Gummy Smile.
So, what exactly is a gummy smile?
While this is a very subjective thing and can vary from person to person, there seems to be a common perception of a smile being gummy when 4 millimeters or more of gum tissue shows.
But gum tissue isn’t the only issue. A smile can also be perceived as being gummy when the position of the upper lip, upper jaw, visible gum tissues and teeth are not in proportion when one smiles. So a gummy smile could be a combination of one or more of the following:
- Amount of gum tissue being exposed
- Extent of upper lip movement
- Undersized or shorter teeth
- The vertical position of the upper jaw and teeth
There could be a variety of causes for a gummy smile, and this makes it even more important to find out the right cause before proceeding with the treatment. We can safely say that a correct diagnosis is part of the treatment. There could be four types of causes when it comes to a gummy smile:
Poor oral hygiene or breathing from the mouth can cause overgrowth of gums
Compensatory eruption: This is when the upper teeth have worn down and have moved downwards to maintain a proper bite, making the gums come down with them too and creating an appearance of shorter, squarish teeth
Super eruption due to poor anterior coupling: Sometimes, when the position of the upper teeth is further forward in relation to the lower teeth, as a result of which they do not come in contact with each other and just slide past. As the teeth move down, the gums come along too
Short Upper Lip: When the upper lip is very short, it can display more gum than required
Hypermobile upper lip: When your lip moves too much too easily, it goes up much further than a normal lip, exposing more than the desired amount of gum tissue
A long upper jaw: When the gum and tooth proportion is normal, but there is still too much gum tissue showing, it could be due to a long upper jaw, in relation to the base of the skull.
Just like multiple causes, there are multiple ways to treat a gummy smile.
- Gum lift, in which the excess gum tissue is reshaped, along with the underlying bone, so as to expose more of the teeth
- Gum contouring, which involves a surgical sculpting of the gingival tissues, which will create healthier and better looking gum contours
- Professional teeth cleaning of the tooth and root surface to reduce gum swelling
- When the teeth have erupted further than their ideal level, then some kind of orthodontic braces (including clear braces and Invisalign) can help push the teeth back to their correct position.
- This will likely need to followed up with some kind of tooth restoration procedure using porcelain veneers or crowns, or composite veneers
In case of a long upper jaw with over 7mm of gums showing, an Orthognathic surgery is recommended. This will entail a surgical repositioning of the jaw so that there is lesser proportion of gum showing when you smile
- If you’re looking for a permanent solution to a hypermobile lip, then you can look at surgery to restrict the excessive movement of the upper lip.
- Surgical lip lengthening, in which the length of the upper lip is surgically lengthened so as to reveal less gum while smiling
We see that there is a lot more to a gummy smile and it’s important to have an experienced team that can correctly diagnose the cause, and can carry out the required treatment in a smooth and professional manner. Our team of experts at Magical Smiles is well equipped to work out the best strategy for you… so that you can smile more confidently, and get set to charm the world with your beautiful, magical smile!