A 'gummy' smile happens, as the name suggests, when more of your gums show than your teeth when you smile. Some people describe the condition as having 'short' teeth – although it's more likely your teeth are standard length, just covered by excess gum tissue. There are other factors that can cause gummy smiles, too, and the first thing to do will be to establish the cause of your gummy smile.
Causes of gummy smiles
- Excess gum tissue covering the teeth
- Having worn-down teeth
- Having a high lip line
- Hyperactive lip elevator muscle
- Certain genetic conditions affecting the jaw
- Altered passive eruption
The treatment will depend on the cause. For excessive gum tissue and worn teeth, crown lengthening is a common treatment. This involves removing and reshaping excess gum tissue and bone to expose more of your natural teeth. This can be performed on one tooth or several teeth, and is also sometimes performed before restorative treatment such as crowns or veneers. In some cases, laser treatment is available to remove excess gum tissue.
There are other clinical situations where there is a lack of gum tissue. This could happen both around natural teeth or implants. A common cause for this is excessive brushing around the gum line. This can also lead to further problems such as tooth sensitivity or decay. A minor surgical procedure i.e. connective tissue graft (CTG) could help to rebuild the missing soft tissues and provide you with a more natural looking appearance.