You may have beautiful, straight white teeth, but all you see when you look in the mirror is a “gummy smile.” Unfortunately, showing excess gum tissue when smiling can be a source of insecurity for many people – but according to our New York City cosmetic dentist, Michael Kosdon, DDS, there are a few treatments that can minimize or completely fix this problem.
In order to determine the best potential solution for your gummy smile, Dr. Kosdon will perform an initial examination to see if there is an underlying cause. Some of the most common causes include:
- Genetics. An overgrowth of tissue that covers the teeth and makes them look shorter can be related to genetics, which often play a large role in periodontal health.
- A hyperactive upper lip. Your gummy smile may be the result of a hyperactive upper lip that raises higher than normal when smiling, exposing excess gum tissue.
- A bad bite (also called “malocclusion”). If your bite is off, your upper teeth can grow down further than normal and expose more of the gums.
- Poor hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss properly and consistently, your gums can become red and inflamed, leading to a puffy overgrowth.
One of the most common causes of a gummy smile is also the easiest to treat: inflamed gums (a condition medically known as gingivitis). This inflammation can cause the gums to cover your teeth, making them look smaller and resulting in a gummy smile. In this instance, we recommend you get a deep cleaning, which is often known as “scaling and root planing.” Once completed, the inflammation can disappear and your smile can look and feel much healthier.
If the teeth are straight and in proper alignment, the only way to fix the appearance of a “gummy smile” is to raise the gums with a soft tissue laser. This procedure, which is called “gum recontouring” or “crown lengthening,” was developed specifically to alter the shape and positioning of the gums in order to show more of the teeth. In more extreme cases, Dr. Kosdon may recommend a gingivectomy, in which diseased gum tissue is surgically removed.
Alternatively, the cause of your gummy smile may be a hyperactive upper lip. This condition can often be treated conservatively with BOTOX® injections, which can temporarily inhibit upper lip movement and fix your smile. It’s important to note, however, that the effects of BOTOX® injections only last a few months and may need to be repeated a few times a year. For a more permanent solution, you may be interested in lip repositioning surgery, which is offered by many plastic surgeons.
Finally, gummy smiles that are a result of crooked or poorly-aligned teeth can often be fixed through orthodontics, namely Invisalign®. It’s amazing how much better your smile can look when the teeth are straight and in proper alignment!
In many cases, we may also recommend placing porcelain veneers on the teeth after the gums fully heal for the best aesthetic outcome.
Regardless of which option is ideal for you, Dr. Kosdon will be happy to build a treatment plan that addresses your every oral health need. Feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kosdon today.