The term “gummy smile” loosely refers to any smile which shows more gum than teeth. Individuals who have a gummy smile often assume they have abnormally small teeth. Fortunately, this is very rarely the case. Gummy smiles typically result from:
- Overdeveloped gums
- Gums that do not recede properly
- Overdevelopment of the upper jaw
- A hyperactive upper lip.
Overdeveloped Gums and Improperly Receded Gums
These are the most common and easily treated causes of gummy smiles. Sometimes, when your adult teeth come in, your gums do not recede properly. When this happens, the gums cover more of the teeth than they should. In some cases, the jawbone may be overdeveloped as well. Excessive gum tissue can be removed with a gum recontouring procedure.
Overdeveloped Upper Jaw
This is a far more rare cause than overdeveloped gums and can be much more difficult and intensive to treat. A crown lengthening procedure is often performed, which consists of removing small amounts of jawbone tissue in order to expose more of the underlying teeth. Gum recontouring and crown lengthening can help in many cases, but it is not unusual that maxillofacial surgery is required.
Hyperactive Upper Lip
A hyperactive upper lip is one which lifts too high while smiling. Gum recontouring and crown lengthening may help to some extent, but in many cases cosmetic surgery may be necessary.
Correcting a gummy smile is usually a simple procedure and well within the capacity of an experienced and skilled cosmetic dentist. However, some causes of and treatments for the condition may require you to visit other medical specialists. Dr. Firouzi is well-connected in the Pittsburgh area and knows the finest maxillofacial and cosmetic surgeons in the area, should he need to refer you to them.