I Don’t Like My Gummy Smile: Can You Help?

Dec 12, 2023
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Your beautiful teeth can be eclipsed by a smile that reveals too much upper gums. If you’re embarrassed by a gummy smile, there are solutions. Laser dentistry can reshape your gums and restore your smile.

A smile should showcase your beautiful teeth without revealing the upper gum. But when some people smile, you can see the gum above their teeth. Sometimes, you may see more gum than teeth.

If your upper gums are visible, you have a gummy smile.

You may be happy with your smile no matter how much gum you reveal. But many people are embarrassed by their appearance and start hiding their smiles.

If you’re unhappy with a gummy smile, it’s time to turn to Roy Hudgens, DMD, and our team at Hudgens Dental, located in Charleston, South Carolina. As cosmetic dentistry specialists, we help people reframe their smiles with procedures that restore a natural-looking gumline.

Gummy smiles explained

The dental term for a gummy smile is excessive gingival display (gingiva refers to your gums). Gummy smiles have several causes, including the following:

  • Excessive gum tissue 
  • Upper lip that’s too short — your upper lip is out of proportion to your lower lip
  • Hypermobile upper lip muscles — your lip rises higher than usual when smiling
  • Altered tooth growth — the gums remain over part of your adult teeth when they emerge
  • Upper jaw overgrowth — the misaligned jaw makes the gums bulge outward

Since a gummy smile is seldom a dental problem, you don’t need to seek treatment unless you want to improve your appearance. But there is an exception: gum overgrowth (gingival hyperplasia).

Gummy smile vs. gum overgrowth

Gum overgrowth may only affect the area above your upper teeth. However, gingival hyperplasia often affects the gums between your teeth, which may be a sign of a dental issue that must be addressed.

The most common cause of excessive gum growth between teeth is inflammation (gingivitis). Gingivitis develops due to poor dental hygiene. 

Without regular brushing and flossing, plaque builds up on your teeth. Then, the plaque (which harbors bacteria) hardens and turns into tartar.

Once tartar develops, you can’t remove it with brushing. Unfortunately, tartar holds bacteria against your teeth, leading to a gum infection.

Beyond gingival hyperplasia, gum overgrowth has several other causes. 

Some people inherit excessive gum growth. Health conditions, such as leukemia, diabetes, lymphoma, and vitamin deficiencies, may also lead to overgrowth. 

You could also develop the problem if you take medications like anticonvulsants or immunosuppressants.

Transform your gummy smile

We transform your gummy smile using laser dentistry to perform one of the following procedures:

Gum contouring

Gum contouring reshapes your gum line and eliminates extra gum tissue. During your consultation, we examine your teeth and gums and learn about the changes you want to make to improve your smile.

We consider your cosmetic goals, gum-to-tooth ratio, and facial bone structure. Sometimes, we may need to remove a small amount of bone around your teeth to prevent the gums from growing back.

Considering all these factors guides the procedure and helps ensure you’re happy with the results.

Lip repositioning

If a short or hypermobile upper lip causes your gummy smile, we can use the laser to reposition the lip or limit muscle movement. We perform the surgery inside your lip, so you don’t need to worry about scars.

Benefits of laser dentistry

When it’s time for your gum contouring or lip repositioning, we typically use a local anesthesia and offer a sedative if needed. But one of the advantages of laser dentistry is that it’s virtually painless.

Dental lasers are incredibly precise, quickly vaporize the tissues (causing less trauma), and seal blood vessels and nerves, which prevents bleeding and pain. Your gums also heal faster because the laser sterilizes the tissues and kills bacteria.

Ready to eliminate your gummy smile? Call Hudgens Dental today or book online to learn how we can improve your appearance.