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What Is A Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile, also known as excessive gingival display, refers to a smile that shows an excessive amount of gum tissue above the teeth.
What exactly constitutes a gummy smile is subjective, but this study showed that people prefer a maximum of two millimeters of gumline exposed when smiling. Anything above that is considered a gummy smile. In general, most people seem to know a gummy smile when they see one, and if you have one, you are probably highly aware of it.
Americans have pretty high standards for smiles. The health, whiteness, and straightness of our teeth are a standard of beauty here and our gums are included in this. Consider your gums as the frame for your teeth. A bad frame can taint the entire image or distract from it.
This isn’t to say a smile with a lot of gum is “bad,” but most people do notice when they have an excessive amount of gum tissue and many feel self-conscious about it, particularly when they smile. Because of this, if they can correct it, they often do.
What Causes A Gummy Smile?
Many people with gummy smiles suffer from embarrassment or insecurity due to how much gum line they reveal.
Women are more likely than men to suffer from a gummy smile, with 7 percent of men and 14 percent of women affected by it. Nevertheless, the actual number may be significantly higher than reported.
In more clinical terms, a gummy smile is caused by excessive gingival display. It is important to note that a gummy smile may not always cause severe dental issues, but it often impairs an individual’s self-esteem. With excessive gingival display, people tend to hide their smiles by putting their hands over their mouths or staying out of the spotlight. It’s important to be confident in your smile; to do that, you need to know why it’s happening.
Following are the most common reasons:
Many things can cause gummy smiles.
Genetically, some of these issues are inborn, and we can’t control them, but others result from how we care for our teeth, which is something we can prevent.
Genetic factors that cause gummy smiles include an overgrowth of the jaw, smaller teeth, a short upper lip, or any of the three combined.
When the jaw is overgrown, the gums become more prominent and jut out. When someone has a small or short upper lip, it causes the gums to be exposed more than they usually would. These are things that you cannot easily fix and are a result of genetics and how one was born.
Something known as a hyperactive upper lip can also create a gummy smile. First, overactive muscles cause a hyperactive lip in the upper lip and under the nose. Then, due to repeated overuse of those muscles, the top lip is raised, and gum tissue becomes visible.
2. Hereditary Gingival Fibromatosis (HGF)
Another genetic cause is hereditary gingival fibromatosis (HGF), which causes keratinized gingiva to slowly but steadily enlarge. It can lead to speech impediments in some cases.
Only 1 out of every 175,000 individuals are affected by this condition. This can lead to functional and esthetic problems, as well as periodontal problems, such as bleeding gums and bone loss.
3. An Uneven Bite
The most common reason for a gummy smile is an uneven or irregular bite. This can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Overbite or underbite
- Consistent grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw
- Missing teeth
- An accidental injury or traumatic dental incident
If your top jaw isn’t aligned properly with your bottom jaw, no matter what you do, your bite will be affected. Bad bites can result in everything from jaw pain to crooked teeth as well as gummy smiles. Immediately correcting an uneven bite can prevent more serious problems from arising.
Your periodontist will be able to determine the best treatment for your uneven bite.
4. Excessive Gum Tissue
The most likely cause of a gummy smile is excessive gum tissue. Occasionally, new permanent teeth are accompanied by excessive gum tissue growth. Overgrowth of gum tissue surrounds the teeth, causing gingival hyperplasia.
In addition to medication side effects and poor oral hygiene, other factors contribute to this condition.
Maintaining good brushing and flossing habits as well as visiting your dentist on a regular basis will help prevent excessive gum tissue.
Additional causes of a smile with excessive gum can include the following:
Gum disease could be causing inflammation in the gums, which makes them appear larger.
This is an oral condition that causes your gums to overgrow.
Overgrowth of the upper jaw
This causes the gums to jut out and appear more prominent.
A thin upper lip
Having a smaller upper lip can cause the appearance of a gummy smile.
If your teeth grew in improperly, this could cause them to be covered by more gum than is necessary.
A gummy smile may not have many serious effects, but the insecurities it creates should convince you to get it fixed.
The best way to determine the best treatment option is to identify the cause of the problem and why it occurs. In order to find a solution, it is necessary to determine the cause of the problem, whether it comes from poor dental hygiene, genetics, or a traumatizing dental event.
If you are not happy with your gummy smile, visit your periodontist for a solution.
Anna is 17 years old.
Anna wore braces for two years, which caused her to have altered passive eruption, which led to a gummy smile.
Once Anna’s braces were removed, she came for a consultation and cleaning with Dr. Sedler. After she improved her hygiene, Dr. Sedler proceeded with the surgery to correct her gummy smile.
The surgery included the full upper arch and took about two hours. Anna spent the next week healing then came in for suture removal.
She was pain-free and didn’t even need pain medication.
After about two weeks, Anna was completely healed.
Anna could see the results the same day of the surgery and is ecstatic about her new smile. Her father came with her during her suture removal post-op appointment and mentioned that she didn’t stop smiling the entire week.
“Anna didn’t stop smiling the entire week.”
Are Gummy Smiles Common?
Research suggests 14% of women and 7% of men are affected by this condition, but this evidence is based on patients who actually seek treatment for their smile, so it’s very likely those numbers are higher for both men and women.
There are a number of treatments available depending on the cause of your gummy smile.
This is a gum reshaping procedure performed by a periodontist to remove excess gum tissue and expose more of the teeth, improving the look of your smile. Gum reshaping procedures are for those whose excessive gum is not caused by structural bone issues or gum disease.
If the jaw or a misaligned bite is causing the gummy smile, orthodontia such as braces could be the solution.
Gummy Smile Botox
If a hyperactive upper lip is causing your gummy smile, you could get Botox injections. Botox will temporarily paralyze the muscles in your upper lip, so your lip can’t rise as high when you smile and will not expose as much gum.
Dental Veneers or Dental Crowns
If your teeth are short, you could get dental veneers or crowns—porcelain coverings for the teeth—that will make your teeth appear longer.
Crown Lengthening Surgery
Crown lengthening removes excess gum at the top of the tooth to expose more of the tooth and allows the gums to recede naturally. This procedure is ideal if your gummy smile was caused by developmental issues.
If a protruding jaw is causing too much gum to show when you smile, having jaw orthognathic jaw surgery may be necessary.
Laser Gum Reshaping
This procedure is similar to a gingivectomy but uses lasers to remove the gum rather than a surgical knife.
Should I Worry About A Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile is usually not a major health concern unless it is caused by inflammation of the gum tissue due to gum disease or gingivitis. In that case, your gum disease will need to be addressed and treated as soon as possible.
Regardless of the cause, it would be best if you talked to your dentist so he or she can determine the next steps and the best way to correct them.
Can I Correct My Gummy Smile Myself?
If you want a normal gum line, you will most likely need to see a periodontist to restore or correct it.
However, if your gummy smile is due to inflammation caused by gum disease, you can practice good oral hygiene to improve the inflammation, depending on the severity.
Is Gum Reshaping Right for Me?
Whether or not a gum reshaping procedure is right for you entirely depends on the cause of your gummy smile. If you have smaller teeth or excessive gum tissue, then a reshaping procedure is probably all that you need.
However, if you have gum disease, a protruding jaw, or if your teeth didn’t grow correctly, a more advanced treatment like the ones listed above may be necessary. Ask your periodontist about the cause, and he or she can guide you to proper treatment.
Who Performs Gum Reshaping Procedures?
Periodontists are dental professionals who specialize in the area around the tooth, meaning the gums, bone, and jaw. They perform various gum surgeries every day. Most likely, a periodontist would be performing your gum reshaping procedure, also known as crown lengthening.
Gummy Smile + Botox
Periodontists, as well as professionals at dental spas and dermatologists, can administer Botox to correct your smile. If that is the suggested treatment plan to improve your smile, your dentist will refer you to the appropriate provider.
How Much Does Gum Reshaping Cost?
Which gum reshaping procedure you get, whether or not you have insurance, and what kind of insurance you have all play a role in how much your gum reshaping procedure will cost.
To give you a rough idea, the average gingivectomy costs $200-$400 per tooth out of pocket. Insurance might cover a gingivectomy if it is performed for gum disease-related purposes, but not if it is simply cosmetic. Call your insurance company prior to your procedure to ensure you know exactly what you will be paying out of pocket.
Cindy’s Gummy Smile Correction
Cindy is a 21-year-old girl who presented to Cutting Edge Periodontist looking for help because she was too embarrassed to smile.
She said, “When I smile and laugh, I always cover my mouth with my hand or make sure I don’t smile big.”
She had come to the clinic with her parents, who wanted to help their daughter smile again.
After a careful exam and assessment, Dr. Sedler found Cindy had an excessively gummy smile. Correcting this with surgery could potentially change her life and how she felt about herself.
Dr. Sedler explained the procedure and everything that would be involved with the surgery, and the expected recovery time. The surgery was booked for the following week.
After the surgery was complete, Dr. Sedler gave Cindy a mirror to see the results without disturbing her stitches. When she saw her new smile, she teared up. When asked if she was in pain, she said, ”No pain, I just never imagined I could smile how I wanted to smile without covering my face.”
The following week she came back in to remove the stitches and smiling ear to ear. She was asked how the recovery had been, and she said, “I took my graduation photos this week.” Dr. Sedler asked, “with the stitches in?” And Cindy replied, “I didn’t care. All I cared was I could smile finally.”
Cindy’s parents said she hadn’t stopped smiling since she got home from the surgery. And in the end, we were all smiling.
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Gummy Smile Correction Burbank
Did you know over 600 searches each month are made from people searching “gummy smile correction” that generates 550 clicks to a website like Cutting Edge Periodontist?
That’s a lot of searches and clicks for gummy smile correction!
Maybe you didn’t search for “gummy smile correction” or “gummy smile correction Burbank” to find us, but we are easy to get to if you are located in or around Burbank, Glendale, Toluca Lake, or the North Hollywood area. We even get patients from Los Angeles who come either by referral or find us on Google by searching “gummy smile correction Los Angeles.” So call us today and schedule an appointment at 310-362-3343 or complete the Request An Appointment form below.
Can A Gummy Smile Be Corrected?
Yes. A gummy smile, also known as excessive gingival display, refers to a smile that shows an excessive amount of gum tissue above the teeth.
What constitutes a gummy smile is subjective, but a recent study showed that people prefer a maximum of two millimeters of gumline exposed when smiling. Anything above that is considered a gummy smile.
In general, most people seem to know a gummy smile when they see one, and if you have one, you are probably highly aware of it.
We have pretty high standards for smiles.
Our teeths’ health, whiteness, and straightness are a standard of beauty in Burbank and Los Angeles, and our gums are included in this.
Consider your gums as the frame for your teeth. A bad frame can taint the entire image or distract from it.
This isn’t to say a gummy smile is “bad,” but most people notice when they have excessive gum tissue, and many feel self-conscious about it, particularly when they smile. Because of this, if they can correct it, they often do.