Causes of a Gummy Smile

Causes of a Gummy Smile

You may not be happy with your smile if it’s “gummy.” Technically called an excessive gingival display, a gummy smile might be making you feel self-conscious about your appearance. 

While there’s no set definition of what’s “too much” of your gums showing, the consensus is that your smile shouldn’t reveal more than about one-eighth inch of gums.

If you’re showing more of your gums than that, you’re not doomed. Several possible solutions can make your smile more aesthetically pleasing by focusing more on your teeth and less on your gums. 

From her dental practice in San Francisco, California, Dr. Nataly Vilderman, DDS, explains more about what you can do to restore your smile to a healthier, more attractive version.

What causes a gummy smile?

A number of conditions can cause a gummy smile. The most common factors include:

The size and shape of your teeth

We all hope we’re lucky enough to have pleasantly shaped and sized teeth, but many of us aren’t. If your teeth have unusual shapes or sizes, they’ll appear more prominent, adding to a gummy smile.

Upper lip and gum irregularities

The size and shape of your upper lip and gums are often determined by your genetics. 

You can have a condition called gingival hypertrophy, which means your gums tissues are overly large and have a more prominent appearance. Or you can have a hyperactive upper lip, which exposes more of your gums when you smile.

Certain medications

Some medications can cause more prominent gums. Some of these include calcium channel blockers, which treat hypertension; anticonvulsants, which prevent seizures; or immunosuppressants, which are used after an organ transplant.

You often don’t have much control over whether your gums are unusually prominent, but you can do something about it.

How to treat a gummy smile

Gum rejuvenation is one of the most popular ways to treat a gummy smile. It can restore the health and appearance of your gums without the long recovery times commonly associated with other dental surgeries.

You may also consider getting Invisalign®. This system of clear, custom, thermoplastic aligners is designed to move your teeth into a more pleasing position gradually. As an alternative to braces, it’s an excellent choice for many people,

You can also get veneers to lengthen the appearance of your teeth. Veneers are thin shells made of composite resin or porcelain, which are placed over your natural teeth. 

However, because we have to file down a sliver of enamel off the front of your teeth to make room for the veneers, it’s considered a permanent solution. Most people can keep the same veneers for 5-10 years before needing to replace them. 

You may also consider Botox® injections to address the mobility of your upper lip. Some patients find that Botox is sufficient to prevent your upper lip from showing too much of your gums.

If you have a gummy smile, you don’t have to feel self-conscious about it anymore. Call Dr. Nataly Vilderman for an appointment or book online today.

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