Why Is Your Smile Gummy? Here Are Four Possibilities

Fixing Gummy Smiles in Houston Texas - West Houston Periodontics

What factors contribute to a lovely smile? Beautiful teeth, without a doubt. However, regardless of the quality of your teeth, there is another factor that can make or break your smile: your gums. Although their major role is to guard and stabilize the teeth, your gums also serve as an appealing frame for them.

However, just as a painting in an oversized frame can lose some of its charm, so can your smile if the size of your gums appears out of proportion to your teeth. A “gummy” smile is one that has more than four millimeters of gum tissue visible.

We can perform a few things to improve your gum-to-tooth ratios. What we do will be determined by which of the following factors is causing your gummy smile.

  • Gum tissue that is excessive. Let’s start with the obvious: you have excessive gum tissue that obscures some of your visible tooth crown. This is frequently corrected with a surgical treatment known as “crown lengthening,” which eliminates part of the extra tissue and then reshapes the gums and bone to expose greater tooth length.
  • Teeth that appear to be overly short. The issue may not be your gums, but rather that your teeth look to be overly short. This can occur if the teeth did not fully erupt or if they have worn down due to aging or a grinding habit. Cosmetically “lengthening” the teeth with veneers, crowns, or other bonding procedures is one approach.
  • Increased lip movement. Instead of your teeth and gums being out of proportion, your upper lip may be lifting too high when you smile, which is known as hypermobility. Botox injections, which block the lip muscles and prevent them from overextending, are one temporary solution. Periodontal surgery could potentially be used to execute a lip stabilization operation that permanently corrects the upper lip mobility.
  • Jaw is overextended. If your upper jaw extends too far down and forward, your gums may appear more noticeable. Orthognathic (jaw straightening) surgery may be utilized in this scenario to adjust the jaw relative to its relationship with the skull. Setting the jaw up and back in this manner will make the gums less visible when you smile.

As you can see, treatments range from simple cosmetic procedures to minor surgical procedures. A comprehensive periodontal exam can assist identify which, if any, of these measures may be effective in reducing gumminess and improving your smile.

For more information on fixing gummy grins, please contact West Houston Periodontics or make an appointment for a consultation.