Gums are essential for keeping your teeth in place. But if you feel you show too much gum when you smile, this can lead to you feeling self-conscious and lacking in confidence. You may even stop smiling altogether or put your hand in front of your mouth when you smile or laugh. However, there are effective dental treatments which can improve the appearance of gummy smiles.
There are several reasons why you may show more gum than you would like to when you smile. An overgrowth of gum tissue, caused by genetics could be covering up part of your teeth. It may be that your teeth are particularly small or your gums too large, leading to an aesthetic imbalance.
Gummy smiles tend to be more common in women than in men. Your dentist will carry out a thorough investigation to discover the causes of your gummy smile before recommending the best treatment for you.
There have been lots of studies and focus group work carried out with dentists, plastic surgeons and patients to assess what makes the perfect smile. Most agree that only around 2mm of gum should be showing when you smile. Anything over 3mm or 4mm starts to look “gummy”. If you aren’t happy about the amount of gum on display when you smile or laugh, you may want to consider treatment to improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile.
Crown lengthening is sometimes used for patients who need to have more tooth exposed so that they can have a crown fitted, it can also be an effective way to treat a gummy smile.
Crown lengthening involves reshaping and contouring the gum line by removing gum with a laser or scalpel. The lift reveals more of your teeth for a better-looking smile. A gum lift can be carried out on just one tooth, several, or your whole gum line. It all depends on the look you want to achieve.
A crown lengthening treatment is generally done under local anaesthetic and can take less than an hour, depending on the number of teeth to be treated. It’s a fast, effective way to get rid of gummy smiles.
It is recommended that you stay away from any hard or sticky foods for two to three days after treatment to give your gums and teeth time to settle. It is also not recommended to floss until your gums are healed. You may also find that your teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold for a period of time, but within a few weeks, you will find you are fully recovered and ready to show off your new smile.
As well as improving the look of a gummy smile, the procedure can also help to prevent or treat gum disease as a result of trimming back some of the gum so you can clean your gum line more effectively.