Gummy Smile

Gummy smile after braces

A gummy smile, or what your dentist might call “excessive gingival display”, are the terms we use when referring to the appearance of the gum to tooth ratio around your top front teeth. When there appears to be too much gum tissue with relation to the length and shape of the tooth, we see it as “gummy”.

There’s lots of research that has gone into determining what factors need to be in place for us to call a smile beautiful.  The summary of it all is symmetry – “if it’s symmetrical, it’s beautiful” is what our eyes seem to tell us. Research has shown that once we can see more than 2mm of gum tissue around our top six front teeth, we’re seeing too much gum and are less likely to call it a beautiful smile.

There are several possible reasons for a gummy smile and they should be properly evaluated by a trained professional.  I’ll outline those reasons for you here and you’ll quickly see why the Periodontist and Orthodontist near you are the ideal professionals to help you with this issue.

Possible causes of gummy smile:

  • Overgrowth of the upper jaw (Your dentist or orthodontist will call this vertical maxillary excess)
  • Improper eruption of the teeth
  • Genetics – some people have smaller teeth than others
  • Gingival Hyperplasia or overgrowth of gum tissue due to inflammation or prescription medications
  • An upper lip muscle that is a bit too strong and lifts very high when smiling
  • Clenching/Grinding of teeth that has worn the biting surfaces down and made the teeth smaller

Once an orthodontists, a periodontists or a general dentist has determined the cause of the issue, the appropriate treatment can be recommended.

Possible treatments:

  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Gingivectomy – a simple surgical procedure performed by your Periodontist to reshape the gum tissue around the tooth and thus create the appearance of a longer tooth.
  • Crown Lengthening – a simple surgical procedure performed by your Periodontist to lengthen the appearance of the tooth by reshaping the gum tissue and the bone surrounding it.

Both Dr. Pancko and Dr. Sanz at Southern Delaware Dental Specialists are experts in the areas that specialize in addressing this issue.  If a gummy smile is a concern for you, a consult at Southern Delaware Dental Specialist will quickly get you the care you need to achieve the smile you want and will love.