Gummy smile treatment helps to improve an often overlooked part of your smile. Healthy, well-contoured, pink gum tissue compliments and frames the teeth. Also, healthy, well-maintained gums are just as important as healthy teeth. Gum contouring is as simple as removing some of the gummy excess to eliminate a “gummy” smile.
Most people who come in for this procedure are displeased with their smiles due to the appearance of their gums. If you feel that your front teeth are too short in comparison to the above gum tissue, then you may be a good candidate for gum contouring. A gummy smile is a normal variation of human anatomy although many people with excess gum tissue are self-conscious about smiling. View our gallery of smiles for examples of our past work.
What Causes a Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile can be caused by several different factors including a surplus amount of gum tissue in your upper jaw area, which results in the abnormal eruption of the teeth. The teeth that suffer from excess gum tissue in this area can be short in appearance and limit the exposure of a healthy smile. In addition to excess gum tissue, a hyperactive muscle that controls the upper lip could cause your lip to rise up higher than average. This causes more gum tissue to show when you smile.
Types of Gummy Smiles
Gummy smiles may occur on a single tooth, a group of teeth, or on the entire jawline. The differences can be determined by measuring the patient’s gum tissue as a percentage of the total tooth length. Here is a breakdown of the different types of gummy smiles:
Mild Gummy Smile – A mild gummy smile is characterized by the appearance of less than 25% of gum tissue displayed in relation to the length of the teeth.
Moderate Gummy Smile – The appearance of 25-50% of gum tissue in relation to the teeth is considered a moderate gummy smile.
Advanced Gummy Smile – An advanced gummy smile is when the gum tissue displayed is between 50-100% of the length of the teeth.
Severe Gummy Smile – Severe gummy smiles are when the amount of gum tissue displayed is greater than 100% of the appearance of the teeth. In severe cases, more than half of the visible smile is gum tissue.
How Gum Contouring Works
Dr. Grabiak DMD, FAGD can give you a better idea whether this procedure may be helpful for your mouth and gum line. A mild anesthetic is used to minimize discomfort during this procedure. Gum contouring involves trimming away excess gum tissue with a special laser, which also seals blood vessels, keeping bleeding at a minimum while reshaping the gum line. After the procedure takes place, the gum is left to heal. There may be sensitivity during recovery, but the results are most often noticeable immediately. In some cases, when more gum tissue is removed the healing process may take longer. Ultimately, this cosmetic gum reshaping creates a consistent, even gum line that results in a better-looking smile.
After gum contouring, it’s especially important to take care of oral hygiene. As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection if the area isn’t kept clean during recovery. For some patients, gum contouring can also eliminate pockets where bacteria accumulate.
Dr. Grabiak DMD, FAGD has completed extensive dentistry training in advanced dental techniques and typically completes 100-150 hours of dental continuing education classes yearly. This is six times more than most state's licensing requirement.