While having what is called a “gummy smile” isn’t a problem that is seen by dentists and orthodontists daily, there are many cases where patients come in pleading to fix their smile. Although this has no medical repercussions, it does leave patients seeking treatment because they feel self-conscious about their smile. While restorative dentistry was once the only way to fix this problem, with the growth of technology new options have become available for treatment.
What Causes a Gummy Smile?
Any smile that show more than 3-4 millimeters of gum is considered a gummy smile. There are many reasons this can occur in a patient’s mouth. The following patients can be prone to this issue:
Patients with a short upper lip
Patients whose lip moves too much
Patients who have an excessive overbite
Patients whose teeth don’t grow far enough out of the bone
Patients whose gums don’t recede as the person matures
Patients with small teeth
Patients with excessive gum tissue
For years, surgery was the most effective option to fix this problem. While surgery was known to be a costly and painful option, alternative options became available over the years. New treatments included orthodontics, periodontal surgery, crown lengthening for short teeth, orthographic surgery, and, in minor cases, laser treatment. In recent years, nontraditional methods such as lip repositioning and Botox have taken over as the go to option for treatment. Because Botox treatments cost near $350 while surgery is closer to $15,000, this less expensive and knowingly easier method has gained popularity. Botox injections are placed into the upper lip muscles to paralyze the muscles and prevent contraction of the upper lip when smiling. While this has become an efficient option, it will not work if the cause of the issue originates in the bones rather than the lip.
While having a gummy smile can be a major problem when it comes to self-image, new and improved options for treatment have become available over the years. Patients are not restricted to costly and painful surgery, but now have cheaper, less invasive methods to perfect their smile.