I Have a Gummy Smile. Am I Doomed?
Gummy bears are delicious and desirable, but gummy smiles are usually disliked and a point of self-consciousness.
Many of the patients I see with gummy smiles don’t even know they have options available to help them. The reality is that we have a few techniques that are able to help get you more confident and less conscious of your smile.
It’s first important to understand what exactly is causing the gummy smile. There are two types of gummy smiles.
- One type results from the gums covering part of the teeth. The gums are in a sense overgrown and this results in part of the teeth being covered and the gums having the appearance of being really big.
- The second type of gummy smile is more an issue with the attachment points of the facial muscles. There are muscles that attach the lips to parts of the skull called levator muscles. When these muscles flex they raise the lips. In some patients these muscle are attached higher up and when they smile they raise the lips up higher than most people and this result in more of the gums being seen.
Bring Out the Laser
If you suffer from the first type of gummy smile the one where the gums are overgrown, then the solution for you is gingival sculpting. This is where a laser or a scalpel is used to physically cut back the gums and to reshape them in a way that makes them look smaller and more natural. I’ve done this procedure using both a scalpel and a laser. I prefer the laser and most modern offices will have a soft tissue laser. The laser helps eliminate bleeding and can sometimes be less painful. There is usually a week or so healing time involved with this procedure but the results are awesome! Sometimes you may need to go back for a touch up since gums always heal in different shapes and ways. However, once done the gums rarely grow back to their old length and the procedure is usually permanent.
Let's Tox It Up
If you suffer from the gummy smile that’s caused by the facial muscles the best treatment is botox. That’s right! Botox is used for more than giving people a frozen in time look. Botox is a safe way to paralyze the muscles that are responsible for raising the lip. In trained hands the dentist can temporarily paralyze the muscles that raise the lips and cause a gummy smile. The draw back is that it will take some getting used to since your lips wont move the way they did before the botox. However, botox is temporary and after about 4-6 months its effect will go away.
These are the two major ways dentists can help get your gummy smile go away, but every persons needs are different and you would have to see a dentist that’s trained in this area to deal with your specific need.