The gummy smile is a problem that is normally seen as a purely aesthetic problem, however it has some functional implications, mainly periodontals that must be attended.
From the Asiri Dental Center in Quito, Ecuador we want you to know everything about the tall smile or gummy smile, what it is, its causes and possible treatments.
Table of Content
- The gummy smile is a fact that can be apparent or real depending on its causes. In any case, the effect is the same: greater visibility of the gums when smiling.
- Its effects can be functional (inflammation of the gums due to trauma) or aesthetic by affecting the beauty of the smile.
- Its causes are very varied and must be carefully evaluated in order to find the treatment that will really solve the problem.
What is the Gummy Smile?
It is a type of smile where the gum of the upper teeth is more visible than it should be, giving the impression (apparent or real) of having very small teeth, a protruding upper jaw or a very receding upper lip.
Problems Caused by Gummy Smiles
- Functional: There is a real excess of gingival tissue, the gum is closer to the area where food is chewed. This proximity exposes them to shock with food during chewing and these shocks can generate inflammation of the gums or worsen and generate periodontal inflammation.
- Aesthetics: This is the factor that is most readily apparent and is the main reason for consultation in patients suffering from a tall or gummy smile.
When smiling, excessive exposure of the gums can be very noticeable, which affects the natural beauty of a smile.
Causes and Treatments of Gummy Smile
As indicated in the previous definition, the perception of a gummy smile can be due to apparent or real causes, and hence the importance of diagnosing it properly to precisely attack the factor that produces it.
The causes that I will indicate below are the most important and are not necessarily independent, there may be a mixture of them.
- Excess of Gum: The main cause of the gummy smile is due to an alteration in the eruption process of the teeth; once the tooth has emerged, the gum must recede and discover the crown of the tooth. tooth to its margin. It is then, when the receding process of the gums is not carried out properly, that the gummy smile appears. This alteration is called delayed passive eruption 1. This cause produces the appearance of a smaller tooth and is really an excess of gum or gingival tissue
- Treatment: the recommended treatment is Aesthetic gingivectomy or Gingivoplasty and most likely an osteotomy
- Really Small Teeth: In these cases, the anatomical crown of the tooth is actually smaller in relation to a normal tooth and for this reason the gum looks larger.
- Treatment: Here you can apply aesthetic dentistry techniques such as for example Veneers and prior orthodontics will probably be required
- Tooth Malposition: in these cases, the gum is normal but the teeth have not completely erupted and are deep inside (intruded)
- Treatment: the main treatment is orthodontics to position the teeth in an adequate. This process is called extrusion.
- Problems with the upper lip: A hypertonic lip is usually higher than a normal lip. In this case, despite having normal gums and teeth, they are more exposed when smiling due to the position or size of the upper lip 2
- Treatment: In these cases, lip plastic surgery can be used if the patient wishes.
- Problems with the Upper Jaw: when the upper jaw is very large in relation to the skull, it makes the upper lip rise and the gums are more easily exposed when smiling.
- Treatment: Orthognathic surgery can correct these types of problems, achieving a maxilla of adequate dimensions.
Summary of Gummy Smile Treatments
Below I list the likely treatment options to fix a gummy smile
- Aesthetic Gingivectomy + Osteotomy / Gingivoplasty
- Aesthetic Lip Surgery
- Orthognathic Surgery
I insist, only your dentist or periodontist can help you determine which options are required for each person
Being a problem that can be perceived as a visual effect, or really an anatomical problem, knowing exactly the cause of a gummy smile is key to being able to provide an adequate solution.
Only with a previous study, your periodontist in Quito, Ecuador or in your city will be able to offer you the best option to solve this aesthetic and functional problem.
- Craddock, H., Youngson, C. Eruptive tooth movement — the current state of knowledge. Br Dent J 197, 385–391 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.4811712 ↩︎
- Mehta, S., Banerji, S. The restorative management of tooth wear involving the aesthetic zone. Br Dent J 224, 333–341 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.174 ↩︎
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