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There are several possible causes of gummy smile, including:

  • An excessive display of gum tissue in your upper jaw can result from the abnormal eruption of the teeth. Teeth covered by excessive gum tissue appear short, even though they may actually be the proper length.
  • The muscle that controls the movement of your upper lip could be hyperactive, causing your upper lip to rise up higher than normal. When this occurs, more of your gum tissue is exposed when you smile.
  • The manner in which your upper jaw bone grew and developed could cause the appearance of a gummy smile. For instance, if there was an excessive bulging protrusion of the upper jaw within the gum tissue, you would experience an obvious gummy appearance when you smile.

muscle-gummysmileThe smile line or esthetic zone – the teeth that are showing when you are smiling – is determined by several factors, including:

  • The shape and size of your lips.
  • Your facial muscles.
  • The shape and size of your teeth.
  • Your gum tissue.

The optimal smile line appearance should reveal the least amount of gum tissue possible. Gum tissue visible in the smile line should have balanced, even contours that are in harmony with the upper lip. It is for this reason that many people with a gummy smile or excessive gingival display feel their smile to be unattractive, oftentimes feeling reluctant to smile at all.

However, depending on the factors causing a gummy smile, more serious underlying dental conditions could be present. For example, if you have a gummy smile caused as a result of how the teeth erupted and how the jaw developed, you may also have an uncomfortable or improper bite that could ultimately affect your long-term oral heal

Gummy Smile Treatments

If you think you have a gummy smile, visit your dentist for confirmation and treatment options. Your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth and gums to determine the extent of the excessive gingival display and any possible causes. This examination may involve conventional and/or digital impressions of your teeth and gums. You may also need X-ray imaging so that the tooth roots and jaw bone can be carefully examined.

Depending on the nature of your specific clinical condition, treatment for your gummy smile could include one or more of the following:

  • Same-day laser treatments (in minor cases).
  • Orthodontics (braces) to move the teeth into more suitable positions.
  • Surgical Sculpting of the gingival tissues and bone to create healthier and more attractive looking gum contours.
  • Maxillofacial surgery to reposition the bone.
  • Botulinum Toxin

The first four options are obviously, extensive, invasive and expensive but are permanent. Many patients are now turning to Botulinum toxin as a fairly immediate and inexpensive solution to this problem. The effects will last for 4-5 months, gradually wearing off. Repeated, timely administration of further treatment will extend the period of effectiveness, due to the lip elevator muscles “learning”.

We are happy to provide consultations on all options.

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