A “gummy smile” is a cosmetic issue that isn’t talked about as often as discolored or chipped teeth, but that doesn’t mean it’s uncommon. Around 10 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 30 believe their grins to be gummy, and women in particular are more likely to be bothered by how much of their gum line is visible whenever they smile. But what exactly is a gummy smile, and what causes it? And most important of all, what can you do about it? You’ll find the answers you need in this post.
When is a Smile Considered Gummy?
There actually aren’t any set criteria for whether a smile is gummy or not; it largely depends on whether you’re personally bothered by the amount of gum visible whenever you smile. There are a few different factors that can affect your perception, such as the size and shape of your teeth, the movement of the lips when you pull them back to smile, and the angle of the jaw. As a guideline, 3 to 4 millimeters (roughly an eighth of an inch) is thought to be a disproportionate amount of gum tissue to be visible while grinning.
What Causes a Gummy Smile?
The most common reasons a smile can end up looking “gummy” include:
- Teeth Growing in a Certain Way: The way that your adult teeth erupted can affect the amount of gum tissue that ends up covering them. For example, if your front teeth grew in too far, then your gums may have overgrown as well.
- Lip Differences: A short upper lip can leave more of the gum tissue visible whenever you smile, especially if it tends to move a lot when you pull it back.
- Medical Issues: Drugs for seizures, high blood pressure, or certain immune system problems can cause the gums to grow more than they should, leading to a gummy smile. (This particular issue should be treated, as clinical overgrowth of gums can lead to gum disease.)
How Can a Gummy Smile Be Treated?
If you’re unhappy with the amount of visible gum tissue in your smile, then the solution is very simple: simply have the tissue removed! Gum recontouring is the process of reshaping the gum line by getting rid of excess tissue. This can be done to expose more of the tooth, and it also helps make the gum line look more even and balanced. Veneers can also be used to make the teeth appear longer if they look short and stubby.
Do you think you might have a gummy smile? Set up an appointment with your cosmetic dentist to discuss your concerns and whether gum recontouring is a good option for you. Remember, the world loves brilliant teeth, and you should do what it takes to feel like you can show off your own smile without feeling self-conscious.
About the Author
Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury has enjoyed working in the dental field for over 44 years. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, and he continues to participate in continuing education courses to bolster his skills. He is skilled in using gum recontouring to sculpt attractive new smiles in just a single visit. To schedule a cosmetic consultation at Stansbury Dental for your gummy grin, visit his website or call (903) 561-1122.