When you smile, do you see more of your gums than your teeth? If so, you may have what is often called a gummy smile.
Cause of Gummy Smile
Some are ingrained into our genetics, and there is not much we can do to prevent those from affecting our smiles, but others are a result of how we care for our teeth, and there are certainly some things we can do to keep that from happening.
- Bad Bite – When your top jaw does not align properly with your bottom jaw, it is called a bad bite. A bad bite can cause a whole host of problems from jaw pain to crooked teeth as well as a gummy smile. Most often, a bad bite that causes the upper jaw to protrude out farther than it should result in a gummy look.
- Hyperactive Upper Lip – It occurs when the muscles in the upper lip and under the nose are, well, hyperactive. This repeated overuse of those muscles can cause the top lip to raise and expose gum tissue.
- Too Much Gum Tissue – Perhaps the most common cause of a gummy smile is simply having too much gum tissue. During the eruption of permanent teeth, sometimes there is an overgrowth of gum tissue that covers too much of the teeth. This will result in a gummy appearance. However, infection of the gums can make it appear as if there is too much gum tissue when in fact the infection caused inflammation and the swelling covers too much of the teeth.
Gummy Smile Correction
The best way to fix a gummy smile depends on what caused it in the first place. Treatment is highly dependent on the root cause but can include any of the following common procedures.
- Scaling & Root Planing – When a gummy smile is caused by inflamed and infected gums, often the best way to treat it is to start with a deep professional dental cleaning called scaling and root planing. This advanced cleaning reaches deep into the gum pockets around each tooth to remove bacteria and help the infection heal. Once the infection is gone, inflammation tends to subside as does the gummy appearance.
- Gum Lift or Crown Lengthening – If the cause of a gummy smile is simply too much gum tissue covering the teeth, a gum lift or a crown lengthening may be the best treatment option. A gum lift procedure essentially removes some of the gum tissue around the teeth and restructures the gum line to be higher, showing off more pearly whites.
- Lip Lowering – The name of this treatment is somewhat misleading… as your dentist will not actually lower your lip. Instead, a small section of the gum tissue under the upper lip is removed and the top and bottom are stitched together, creating a shorter looking lip. This shorter lip will make it impossible for the upper lip to rise as high as it used to, thus covering the gums, and reducing the appearance of a gummy smile.
- Botox Treatment – A gummy smile can easily and effectively be treated with Botox. The best part of this treatment is that it is not invasive, and it is a quick procedure! Botox has botulinum toxin type A, and when injected, it can relax the muscles in the upper lip and limit the rise of the upper lip when smiling, so the gums will remain covered. Small amount of Botox is injected in the area between the nose and upper lip to reduce the appearance of any “gummy” smile, creating a more appealing and natural smile. The cost of this procedure is between $90-$150. The results may vary from patient to patient. Generally, the effects of Botox last for three to four months.
Benefits of Botox Treatment
- Treatment sessions take no longer than 30 minutes
- Injections are minimally invasive and cause no pain
- Results occur quickly compared to other methods
- It is more cost-effective than surgical options
- Injections can be adjusted based on treatment goals
- Results look completely natural and proportional with the face
- Downtime is not required when the procedure is finished
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