A Dentist’s Answers on How To Fix a Gummy Smile

A Dentist's Answers on How To Fix a Gummy Smile

Balancing Smiles With Laser Gum Contouring

If your smile has a lot of gum and not so much tooth, you might have what’s called a gummy smile. Whether you were born with it or developed it later in life, there are options for reducing the appearance of your gums if you find that your smile makes you feel self-conscious. But what, if anything, can be done to fix a gummy smile?

Here are the answers to 6 popular questions we hear about gummy smiles.

1. What causes a gummy smile?

There are a few potential causes for gummy smiles!

The most common cause of a gummy smile is entirely outside your control; your smile has excessive gum tissue because of your genetics or anatomy. You may have been born with a gummy smile or developed one because of a physical trigger, such as following a significant hormonal change (e.g., puberty).

Similarly, if you experienced irregular tooth eruption during adolescence and your adult teeth never fully pushed through your gums, this might cause a gummy appearance around the impacted teeth.

Some medications have also been linked to gummy smiles. If you recently started taking medication for heart disease, epilepsy, depression, or an immune disorder and noticed your gums appearing larger or puffy, this may be the underlying cause.

Last but not least, poor oral hygiene can contribute to enlarged gums due to inflammation or infection. Gingivitis and periodontitis are different levels of gum disease, and all of them are characterized by swollen, puffy gum tissue.

After evaluating your smile and discussing your medical history, Dr. Alhadef can determine what may have caused your gummy smile and develop a treatment plan.

2. Are gummy smiles a common problem?

Gummy smiles are nothing to be embarrassed about, and they’re a fairly common issue seen in children, teens, and adults.

“Gummy” is used when the gum tissue is 3 to 4 mm wide or more. It’s difficult to estimate the exact numbers, but it’s believed roughly 7% to 14% of adults have a smile considered to be “gummy” in appearance.

Dr. Alhadef will look at your smile chairside and explain what he’s seeing with your gum-to-tooth ratio. From there, you can discuss how your smile can be better balanced.

3. Are my teeth just too short?

Sometimes a gummy smile appears this way, not because of too much gum tissue, but because there isn’t enough visible tooth. This is why gum length alone isn’t always a reliable indicator of a gummy smile. Dr. Alhadef will also evaluate the overall ratio between the gum and tooth to see if your gums may not necessarily be the problem.

In the case of teeth being very short, cosmetic dentistry solutions can be used alongside gum contouring; for example, a gum lift and porcelain veneers can extend the crown of your teeth.

4. Is periodontal disease causing my gummy smile?

As mentioned earlier, periodontal (gum) disease is a cause of a gummy smile. Although it can cause a similar appearance to a naturally occurring but healthy gummy smile, the similarities end here.

Periodontal disease is a severe oral health condition and the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. It initially develops as gingivitis, a state of inflammation or irritation in the gums, typically triggered by plaque build-up. Without treatment, this inflammation turns into an infection, transforming gingivitis into periodontitis.

If your gummy smile is periodontal disease in disguise, Dr. Alhadef will treat the infection and inflammation directly. If you have periodontal disease coupled with a naturally gummy smile, your periodontal disease will need to be treated before cosmetic dentistry or laser gum contouring.

5. Will my gummy smile go away on its own?

Generally speaking, no. Most gummy smiles occur naturally or because of a gum health issue. In the case of a hormonal-induced thickening of the gums, like during pregnancy, your gums may go back to normal after giving birth, though this isn’t always the case.

Dr. Alhadef can evaluate your unique situation and determine whether or not it’s an issue that’s temporary or can be addressed with a non-surgical solution. Please remember that a gummy smile isn’t a problem that can be “fixed” at home. Purposely pushing back your gums with floss or a dental tool in the hopes of reducing their appearance will not fix a gummy smile but most of all it is dangerous for your oral health.

6. How can I fix a gummy smile?

Gum contouring is Dr. Alhadef’s preferred method of helping patients balance their otherwise healthy gummy smiles. He uses the best dental laser technology and gum contouring techniques to yield stunning results while keeping patients comfortable and relaxed. Dr. Alhadef also incorporates crown lengthening, using porcelain veneers or porcelain dental crowns to protect exposed teeth after removing excess gum tissue.

Gum contouring can also address concerns with too much tooth and too little gum tissue, which can sometimes happen when gums are very uneven in length. Dr. Alhadef can balance out your gum line by removing extra gum tissue and grafting this to areas that need more gum coverage.

Schedule your free consultation with Dr. Alhadef today.

To learn more about your smile and how gum contouring can help you achieve a whole new level of self-confidence, see Dr. Alhadef for a consultation. You can schedule your free, no-pressure consultation today by calling our Dallas, TX, office or requesting a visit online.