A harmonious smile has a fine balance between the gingiva and the teeth. When a patient shows more gingiva than teeth, they can appear to have a “gummy” smile. A “gummy” smile draws attention to your gums and can make teeth appear shorter than they really are. Ideally, we aim to have 2mm or less of gingival tissue showing while patients are smiling.
What are the causes?
When individuals have excessive gingival exposure when smiling, it can be due to the following:
Short teeth or excessively thick gum tissue. The gums have not receded properly after the permanent teeth came in
Hyper-mobile lips or short lips which reveal too much gums when smiling
Long protruding upper jaw bone
A combination of any of the above reasons
Laser Gingival Contouring
Short teeth or excessively thick gum tissue can be effectively treated with a laser gingival contouring procedure. The laser is used to cut and reshape the gum line, making it proportional and harmonious with the smile and face. The healing process after laser gingival contouring is quick and with minimal pain. The laser is precise and minimizes damage to the surrounding tissue. It also automatically seals off the blood vessels so that there is little or no bleeding. There is also no need for stitches! The procedure does not take long and mild pain medication is all that may be required afterwards.
When a hypermobile lip is the cause of the “gummy” smile, Dr. Man can treat the muscles that elevate the upper lip with Botox. This will limit contraction of the upper lip when smiling to prevent the gummy smile