Monday, April 14, 2014

What Is A Gummy Smile?

So, why do some people have gummy smiles? Well; it could be caused by your gums covering more tooth area than it should, making your teeth look too short - or it could be caused by a high lip line, meaning that, when you smile, your upper lip pulls up higher than that of the average person.

Patients generally come to me as a periodontist to correct this for aesthetic reasons, but a good periodontist should also check if you have an improper bite. The reason for this is that, if your gummy smile is a result of how your teeth erupted and/or how your jawbone developed, these could impact on your long term oral health.

There are 3 different surgical procedures to correct a gummy smile, depending on the cause in your particular case. Once we have ascertained what caused your problem, you will only need a local anesthetic and you will not feel any pain during any of the procedures.

If you only have too much gum covering your crowns or teeth, a simple surgical sculpting procedure called gingivectomy or gingivoplasty will suffice. During this procedure I remove excess gum tissue and perhaps a little bone so that more tooth surface is exposed and the gum line is more even. It is a minimally invasive procedure so I will often place a periodontal dressing over the teeth and gums to protect them.

When it is evident that I will have to expose and remove some underlying tooth bone too, I will opt for flap surgery. This procedure will be chosen if your teeth are naturally short, are quite worn or the bone right under the top of the gums is thick. I will then cut the gum open, do what needs to be done, put some stitches in to ensure it heals perfectly and you will also need a periodontal dressing. This procedure involves a little more pain than with a gingivectomy.

If the cause of your gummy smile is a high lip line when you smile, I might suggest hypermobile lip surgery if I think it will help. Local anesthetic is used and I simply re-attach some gum tissue to your lip at a level closer to the teeth.

At Anthem Periodontics and Dental Implants, we will look at YOUR individual needs and only do those procedures necessary to give you a great smile!

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