Did you know, 10% of Miss America pageant contestants had noticeably gummy smiles? Short teeth, stubby teeth, a gummy smile, whatever you call excessive gingival display, it makes a person self-conscious about smiling. About 14% of women and 7% of men have excessive gums. Several factors lead to a gummy smile, but one solution corrects nearly all of them. It is possible to correct a gummy smile with gum recontouring surgery. What is this procedure and how will it improve your smile? In this article, Dr. James Fondriest explains gum recontouring and its potential effects on the appearance of your smile.
Also called a gum lift, gum recontouring removes excess gum tissue to show more of your teeth. Dr. Fondriest will create a precise plan for your smile, then oversee the gum lift, which a periodontist will perform. To begin this procedure, Dr. Fondriest will trace the new gumline on gum tissue, so you can see the amount of excessive gum tissue you will lose. You may not feel much of the procedure after you receive local anesthetic. The periodontist can correct a gummy smile by reshaping your gums using a laser, radiosurgery, or scalpels. A gum lift can take as little as a few days to heal. Until your gums fully recover from gum recontouring, eat soft foods and avoid consuming hot beverages and spicy foods.
Correct a Gummy Smile | Gum Lift Corrections
Gum recontouring corrects give the appearance of lifted gums by correcting one of the many causes of excessive gums. Here are just two problems a gum lift can solve:
- Altered Active Eruption: This occurs when teeth grow normally but gums and bone cover them excessively. Simply put, an altered active eruption defines a gummy smile.
- Super-eruption from Bruxism: The position of teeth waxes and wanes depending on pressure put on them throughout the day. To keep contact between teeth despite constant changes, super-eruption causes upper teeth to move down so teeth still touch. Sometimes, super-erupted front teeth bring gum tissue down with them, causing a gummy smile. Teeth grinding (bruxism) can eventually erode teeth, causing them to shorten. In this case, a cosmetic solution to lengthen teeth, like porcelain veneers, provides a permanent correction.
Why Is My Smile Mostly Gums?
A smile is one of the first things we notice about each other, making it a vital part of our overall appearance. But what happens when a smile begins to change over the years, especially when the smile becomes more gum tissue than teeth? This may seem like an embarrassing problem, but many people struggle with “gummy” smiles.
Why your smile appears gummy and teeth seem short. Common causes include:
- Gums not receding naturally once permanent teeth begin to emerge; teeth appear too short. Gummy smiles are more common among females [sorry ladies!]. This is when gum recontouring, or a gum lift, may be recommended. Dr. Fondriest designs gum lifts to correct overgrown gum tissue and reveal more natural tooth enamel. A gum lift is much easier than you might imagine, particularly when a dental laser is used. Dr. Fondriest often incorporates gum lifts along with crown lengthening to achieve much more cosmetically appealing smiles for his patients.
- Results of bruxism, the condition of grinding, clenching, or clicking of teeth, whether asleep or awake. Wearing down your teeth can make teeth smaller. It may also cause the normal gum line appear crooked. For worn teeth, cosmetic porcelain veneers may be the best solution. It’s also important, however, to stop bruxism from continuing to cause damage. Dr. Fondriest may recommend an oral appliance for you to wear at night, and he’ll assess your jaw joints to determine whether you suffer from TMJ disorder.
- Unusually high lip line, exposing too much of the gums when smiling. Gum recontouring, porcelain veneers, or a dose of Botox in the upper lip muscle may correct this situation.
Why has my smile changed?
- Prescription medication is a frequent cause of gum overgrowth, which is called gingival overgrowth.
- Pregnancy, like puberty, and other times of drastic hormonal changes can also affect a person’s gum health and growth.
- Inflammation, like is often found in patients with gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, can also make the gums appear larger over time.
What should I do?
Thankfully, modern dentistry means you don’t have to settle for a less-than-stellar smile. Gum lifts allow patients to create more symmetrical and stronger smiles. But first understanding the cause of the overgrowth is key to maintaining a lovely smile. We can help determine both the cause of the overgrowth, and whether or not a gum lift would be appropriate. If a patient is a good candidate for a gum lift, then we will reduce the overgrowth while sculpting the tissue to create the appearance of longer and more symmetrical teeth.
While a gum lift can drastically improve the appearance of the smile, diagnosing the cause of the gum growth, and addressing it, is crucial to ensuring the results of any cosmetic procedures are long-lasting. In some cases, we may refer you to a medical doctor to review the medications that may be causing the overgrowth, or to a periodontist, or gum specialist, for further consultation.
Do you want to correct a gummy smile?
Talk to Dr. Fondriest about the cause of and treatment for your gummy smile. With a respected periodontist, he can remove excessive gums and beautify your smile. Call (847) 234-0517 to schedule an appointment at our office.
Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist serving clients from throughout the United States