Gummy Smile? Here's A Look At Treatments Your Dentist May Recommend
When you smile, do you feel like you see more gums than teeth? Some people are born with gummy smiles, and for others, it is the result of excessive gum tissue growth or a wearing away of the teeth. There's generally no medical reason why a gummy smile needs to be addressed, but if you don't like its appearance, a dentist who specializes in cosmetic dentistry may use one or more of the following treatments to make your teeth the center of attention again.
Gum Reduction Surgery
There's two reasons why your smile might look gummy. Either your gums are too big, your teeth are two small, or your teeth never descended all of the way out of your gums. If the former is the case, then your dentist may recommend a procedure to reduce the size of your gums. The excess gum tissue will be trimmed away, revealing the upper portions of your teeth. This procedure is simpler than it sounds and is usually conducted under local anesthesia. You'll have to eat soft foods for a few days while you heal, and an over-the-counter pain reliever can keep you comfortable. Today, many dentists are using lasers, rather than scalpels, to perform gum reduction surgeries. This reduces the recovery time and often yields more precise, even results.
When your gummy smile is due to teeth that are simply small in proportion to your gums, your dentist might recommend veneers. These are thin sheets of porcelain that are attached to the front of your teeth. When someone looks at you, they see the longer veneer instead of the shorter tooth that's behind it. Having veneers applied is essentially painless, but it is a lifelong commitment. Since a small amount of enamel must be removed to attach the veneer to your tooth, once you have veneers put on, you must keep them for life.
If your dentist determines that your teeth are longer than they look, and that they just never descended all of the way out of your gums, he or she may recommend orthodontic treatments such as braces or invisible aligners. These treatments can pull your teeth down into the proper position, so they don't look so small in comparison to your gums. If you're concerned about being seen with braces as an adult, options like clear, invisible aligners or lingual braces (which are placed on the tongue side of your teeth) can help you achieve a less gummy smile without embarrassment. Your dentist or orthodontist can give you an estimate of how long you need to wear the braces or aligners. Some patients only need to wear them for a few months, while others wear them for a year or two.