露齦笑

Do you show a lot of gum tissue when you smile or feel that your smile is “gummy”? Do you put your hand over your mouth when laughing or try not to smile too big to avoid showing your gummy smile? Do you wish there was something you could do to fix your gummy smile? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you have come to the right place for gummy smile correction.

What is a gummy smile?

A “gummy smile” is a condition in which a person shows a larger than average amount of gum tissue when smiling and has a disproportionate gum-to-tooth ratio. Although a gummy smile is considered a normal variation of human anatomy, many people with gummy smiles suffer from embarrassment, self consciousness, and even a general lack of self esteem. They often dislike their smile and wish there was something they could do to change it. The good news is there is something you can do to fix your gummy smile. At the Westcoast International Dental Clinic, we can correct your gummy smile with simple periodontal plastic surgery procedures. You will be amazed by the beautiful and natural looking results achieved using these virtually painless surgical treatments.

What causes a gummy smile?

A gummy smile can be caused by a variety of factors, including the following:

  • Excessive overgrowth of gum tissue (hyperplasia) due to medications such as Dilantin, Cyclosporine, and numerous calcium channel blockers
  • Excessive overgrowth of gum tissue due to orthodontic treatment
  • Inflammation associated with poor oral hygiene, gum disease or faulty dental restorations
  • Congenital gingival enlargement from hereditary and metabolic disorders
  • Developmental variations of the upper jaw bone (maxilla)
  • Hyperactive upper lip muscle, causing the upper lip to rise up higher than normal when smiling (high lip line)
  • Dental malocclusion
  • Excessive growth of bone (exostosis) on the outer surface of the maxillary (upper) jaw bone

Types of Gummy Smiles

Gummy smiles are classified according to the gummy smile scale. This scale measures the amount of gingival tissue (gum tissue) displayed as a percentage of tooth height. In other words, your gummy smile classification is based on the amount of gum tissue that shows in relation to how much tooth structure is displayed when you smile. Gummy smiles can be mild, moderate, advanced, or severe.

Mild Gummy Smile

If the amount of gum tissue displayed when smiling is less than 25% of the length of the teeth, it is considered a mild gummy smile.

Moderate Gummy Smile

If the amount of gum tissue displayed when smiling is between 25% and 50% of the length of the teeth, it is considered a moderate gummy smile.

Advanced Gummy Smile

If the amount of gum tissue displayed when smiling is between 50% and 100% of the length of the teeth, it is considered an advanced gummy smile.

Severe Gummy Smile

If the amount of gum tissue displayed when smiling is greater than 100% of the length of the teeth, it is considered a severe gummy smile.

There are different types of gummy smiles that affect all areas of the mouth. Single teeth may be affected, as well as groups of teeth, or the entire smile. Some people are unhappy with the amount of gum tissue that shows above their front teeth (anterior teeth) when they smile. Others are content with the gum level above their front teeth but feel that they display too much gum tissue on their side teeth (posterior teeth) when they smile. Gummy smiles may also occur on only one side of the mouth, known as a unilateral posterior gummy smile, or on both sides, known as a bilateral posterior gummy smile. No matter what the classification or location of the gummy smile, there are various treatment options available to you.

Treatment Options

If you suffer from a gummy smile and are bothered by the way it looks, you don’t have to live with it any longer! There are three main treatment options available to correct a gummy smile: gingivectomy, crown lengthening surgery, and lip lowering surgery. The method used to treat your gummy smile will be determined by an experienced surgeon who is familiar with gummy smile correction. The treatment modality used is chosen based on the amount of excess gum tissue displayed when you smile, your underlying skeletal anatomy, and the mobility of your upper lip.

Gingivectomy

A gingivectomy is a simple surgical procedure used to correct a minor gummy smile. This procedure is used to remove excess gum tissue and to better contour the gum tissue around the teeth. During a gingivectomy, a minimal amount of gum tissue is removed using a dental laser or by a technique called radiosurgery. The procedure is painless, requires no sutures, and the gums heal within two weeks.

Crown lengthening surgery

More advanced gummy smiles require more extensive gum tissue reduction. A procedure known as crown lengthening surgery can be performed to achieve this tissue reduction. Crown lengthening is done under local anesthesia for total patient comfort. During the procedure, the gum tissue is gently lifted off the underlying bone. Soft tissue is removed and some of the underlying bone is modified, and the gum tissue is contoured and placed in a desired new position. The teeth now look longer and the gums less prominent.

Lip Lowering Surgery

Lip lowering surgery is a soft tissue procedure used to reduce gingival display to improve the look of a gummy smile. It is often used when a patient has a hyper-mobile upper lip or a skeletal discrepancy that causes an excessive amount of gum tissue to show when smiling. By surgically lowering the upper lip, less gum tissue shows when smiling, which leads to a more natural and pleasant looking smile. It is far more conservative than orthognathic surgery and can be completed right here in the comfort of our dental office.

Lip lowering surgery requires local anesthesia similar to that given to a patient receiving ordinary dental restorations. The surgery consists of making an incision in the gum tissue and mucous membrane above the upper teeth, removing a section of tissue, and re-attaching the upper lip in a lower position so that it covers the gum tissue. Once the upper lip is sutured into its new position, the muscles responsible for pulling the lip high above the gum line during normal smiling will be more restricted. This results in a more pleasant looking smile with less gingival display and a reduction of the gummy smile.

References

Gummy Smiles, Kurpis Center For Advance Dentistry, viewed 19th Feb 2013,