What Causes a Gummy Smile?

smiling-at-dentist-300x200-minHere at PerioNYC, a gummy smile is a common complaint we hear from many of our patients. A gummy smile is defined as a smile with more than three or four millimeters of gum showing. This common dental imperfection can be the root cause of smile insecurity. In fact, some patients will only show off a closed-mouth smile or avoid smiling altogether because of their insecurity. Fortunately, there are many options out there that can help address this common complaint. Here at our office in New York City, we offer a range of services such as lip repositioning and periodontal plastic surgery to help give you a fuller, more visually appealing smile. The treatment you need will depend on your specific case and factors that cause you to have a gummy smile. To explain more about the causes of a gummy smile, Dr. Edward Gottesman gives an in-depth look at common characteristics of a gummy smile.

“Why Do I Have a Gummy Smile?”

Like we mentioned before, the treatment you’ll need to treat your gummy smile is dependent on your specific case. This can include different aspects like tooth length, upper lip movement, and more. To accurately choose the right treatment for you, it’s best to identify what causes your gummy smile. Here’s a quick look at the top three reasons for a gummy smile.

The Gums: To keep it simple, having a gummy smile can actually just be an issue with your gums. Having gums that are too long, also known as gingival hypertrophy, or teeth that have not fully erupted are common causes of a gummy smile. It’s best to come into our office to determine where your gums meet your teeth and if you really have excessive gum tissue.

The Teeth & Bone: The positioning of your teeth or jaws can also be a common reason for a gummy smile. A long upper jaw, also known as vertical maxillary excess, refers to the jaw being too long in relation to the base of the skull. A long upper jaw is often traced back to genetics or simply abnormal jaw development. In this instance, treatment aimed to reposition the teeth or jaws will be used to address a gummy smile.

The Lips: If your teeth, gum tissue, and jaw are all normal, the problem may come down to your upper lip. Your upper lip can be responsible for your gummy smile if it is too short or too active. An inadequate lip length can make your smile appear gummy because your lip is too short to cover your teeth and gums. If you notice that your upper lip covers your gums and teeth properly while at rest but rises to high when you smile, you probably have a hyperactive lip. A hyperactive lip, also known as a hypertonic lip, can typically be treated with treatments aimed to reduce its tonicity. This can be done through permanent surgical procedures of botox, which relaxes the associated muscles of the hyperactive lip.

Options for Treatment

Now that we know the causes of a gummy smile, what can we do to treat it? To start off, you’ll need to identify the cause of your gummy smile to determine the best treatment for your smile. The treatments we offer here at PerioNYC include:

Lip Repositioning: This is known as a “gummy tuck” and is especially great for patients that believe the positioning of their lips is the culprit of their gummy smile.

Crown Lengthening: Lengthening your teeth is a great option for patients that want to remove excessive gum tissue to have a fuller smile. Crown lengthening entails lifting the gumline to expose more of the tooth structure. This makes the teeth appear longer and eliminates too much gum tissue from being exposed.

Contact PerioNYC

As you can see, there are plenty of options for treating your gummy smile. To find out more about how our services can treat your gummy smile, contact our office today! You can learn more about your options be calling to schedule your consultation.

A woman at home drinking a cup of green tea.
Springtime Smiles with Green Tea
Can Smoking Alter the Mouth Microbiota?