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A gummy smile is one in which too much gum is showing, causing your teeth to look small.
A smile is generally defined as gummy when four millimeters of gum tissue shows. While this problem can be the source of embarrassment and may be hard on your self-esteem, the good news is that it is primarily a cosmetic issue.
No major complications arise from a gummy smile, but you can still take steps to correct the problem in order to feel better about your teeth.
Causes of a Gummy Smile
There are a variety of causes associated with a gummy smile:
Abnormal eruption. When the teeth don't erupt properly during childhood, or if congenital issues cause your teeth to appear smaller, you may have a gummy smile.
Hormonal changes. Patients can sometimes develop excess gum tissue due to hormonal changes in pregnancy or puberty.
Health conditions and medications. Your health status can influence the growth rate of your gum tissue.
Treating Your Gummy Smile
The treatment method used to treat your gummy smile will vary depending on how much excess gum tissue you are dealing with. One of the most common treatment options used is crown lengthening.
This procedure involves bringing the crowns of the teeth into their correct proportions when compared to the gums, and excess gum tissue will be reshaped or removed in order to expose more of the crown. This procedure can be performed on one tooth or multiple teeth in order to expose more enamel.
In other cases, improper lip positioning could be the cause of a smile that appears gummy. In these situations, lip repositioning may be needed to improve the aesthetics of a smile, removing a small strip of upper lip tissue.
If you have questions about how to improve the appearance of your gummy smile, contact your dentist for guidance.