Treatment of Gummy Smile
Treatment of Gummy Smile

A pleasing smile is generally a delicate balance between the display of teeth and gums. Of course there is a great deal of individual variation that gives everyone’s smile its own character, so at our Perth dental clinic we do not have “hard and set” rules about what your smile should look like.

If you feel that you show too much gum in your smile and that causes you to not smile or socialise with confidence, consult one of our dentists who will diagnose your situation and present you with any potential solutions.

Some causes of a “gummy smile” include:

  • Short upper lip (if a patient has an extremely short upper lip it’s not going to cover gingiva and their upper teeth)
  • Hypermobile lip (lip moves excessively up or up and back/sideways during smiling, exposing extra gum).
  • Over-eruption or “growing out” of the upper front teeth (excessive overbite)
  • Incomplete eruption (the teeth don’t make it fully out of the jaw bone and gums)
  • Vertical maxillary excess VME (short ramus part of the lower jaw and overgrowth of the upper jaw)

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Methods for treating a gummy smile

1. Gum reduction (periodontal) surgery: Gingivectomy (gumlift) or Crown Lengthening Surgery (gum and minor underlying bone reshaping) are services provided at our practice to lift the gumline up and away from the smile. This is usually suitable for cases where teeth are short in appearance. Where dental crowding or cosmetic problems with the teeth are also present, our cosmetic dentists follow up gum surgery with porcelain crowns or veneers designed for your particular case and cosmetic objectives.

A gumlift is often a very simple procedure performed by excision or electrocautery under local anaesthetic with/without sedation. Crown lengthening is a more detailed procedure. For both of these solutions, our dentists make delayed measurements, assessments and photographic or 3-D modeling to design and demonstrate your results before surgery.

These cosmetic gum procedures can be performed by our Drs Misagh Habibi and Vivian Mascarenhas.

2. Lip repositioning surgery: Severs the muscles that elevate the lip so it can no longer rise as far in a smile. This is an irreversible solution that is suitable for some cases such as where the upper lip is “hypermobile”, extending up a long way during a smile and therefore displaying too much gum. To discuss if lip or gum repositioning surgery is suitable for you, make consultation to discuss your options with our Dr Misagh Habibi.

3. Orthodontic treatment: Following referral to, and assessment by an expert orthodontist, braces can be used to intrude and level the teeth down to a level with more optimal gum display. Where suitable, this is a non-invasive method of correcting gummy smiles, and may require months to years of orthodontic treatment. Another advantage of this method is that any other crowding or misalignment problems with the teeth or bite can be correct orthodontically at the same time.

4. Orthognathic surgery: This is a procedure performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in collaboration with an orthodontist, for which we can provide a referral should your case be suitable. Surgery can be performed to move the upper jaw (maxilla) upwards, reducing the amount of tooth and gum on display. This is a more invasive surgical approach, but may be most suitable for patients with jaw alignment discrepancies and a vertically excessive maxilla.

5. Elective extractions, alveolectomy (bone reduction) and dental implant reconstruction with the “All On 4 Plus” method performed by our Dr Misagh Habibi. This can be a suitable method for patients who have extensive dental or gum disease which would benefit from an “overhaul” rather than tooth preservation. For more information about this procedure see Dr Habibi’s All On 4 Clinic website.

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