Last updated on August 16th, 2023
A gummy smile, also known as excessive gingival display, is a dental imperfection that usually makes your smile less beautiful. Today, people are more concerned about their look and their smile. They desire to have a better smile, and dental clinics are now offering satisfactory treatments for gummy smiles. In this post, you will find an ultimate guide, including the facts about gummy smiles and the treatment details.
What is a Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile, also called excessive gingival display, is a kind of dental problem that patients complain about the excessive reveal of their gums when smiling.
Why is a Gummy Smile a Problem?
Patients with a gummy smile are not comfortable with their smile as they are constantly and excessively displaying their gums, which does not look good. Accordingly, many patients are worried about their smiles, and they tend to have lower self-confidence. Moreover, some think that they can’t enjoy life to the fullest.
What Causes a Gummy Smile?
The reasons for a gummy smile can vary. For example, the reasons might be associated with the problems with gums, lips, or some medications you take. Here are the brief explanations for each possible factor.
Too Much Gum Tissue
Having too much gum tissue or relatively shorter upper front teeth is one of the most common causes of a gummy smile. When the adult front teeth erupt, the gum tissue might grow larger than usual and cover the teeth surface. This overgrown gum tissue causes a gingival smile.
Some people might have hyperactive muscles that control their upper lips. Hyperactive lip muscles raise the upper lips higher than normal. It causes the patient to expose larger gum tissue over the upper teeth when the patient smiles. Therefore, the patient has a gummy smile.
Infections & Medications
You should distinguish between naturally overgrown gum tissue and infected gum. Gum tissue might look bigger than usual when it is infected. Then, gummy smile correction is possible by decent brushing and flossing. Also, your dentist might prescribe you some medications to relieve swelling and inflammation.
Medications that you use can also lead to a big gummy smile by growing the gum tissue bigger. This is called gingival hyperplasia in clinical terms. For example, some drugs treating high blood pressure, suppressing the immune system, or preventing seizures can result in a smile showing gums.
What Are The Treatments of a Gummy Smile?
Different treatment alternatives exist since there is more than one cause of gummy smiles. Depending on the cause of the problem, dental professionals should advise you of one or more of the following treatment options.
Too much gum covering the teeth surface can be eliminated through an oral surgery called gingivectomy or gum contouring. In this procedure, the extra gum tissue is removed, and the result is generally permanent.
If the reason for your gummy smile is hyperactive lips, you might be advised to have lip repositioning surgery by your dentist. To put it simply, the idea is to remove a section of muscle tissue in your upper lips. After the surgery, your muscles controlling the upper lips won’t be able to raise your lips until above your teeth root level. Though some relapses can occur in rare cases, the results are permanent, and the patients are happy with their new smiles.
Your dentist can also fix a gummy smile through orthognathic surgery if the jaw causes your gummy teeth. In this procedure, the length of your lower and upper jaws is balanced. However, your orthodontist might need to consult a maxillofacial surgeon before the surgery. In some cases, you might need to get some other orthodontic treatments like wearing braces so that your teeth are well-aligned.
Having a strong dental fear, some patients avoid surgery as much as possible. If you are one of them, you can consider using a temporary anchorage device to reduce the gummy smile. Though it is not applicable to all patients suffering, you can still ask your dentist about this less invasive and more affordable treatment option. According to Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery research, in 2010, the length of the gum tissue can be reduced by an average of 5.88mm by combining orthognathic surgery and anchorage device treatments.
Botox (Botulinum Toxin A / BTX-A)
Getting injected with botulinum toxin, widely known as botox, you can get rid of a gummy smile. The idea of this treatment is to paralyze the muscles that elevate your upper lip higher than enough. Women are more familiar with botox treatment, and thus they tend to get this non-invasive treatment. According to Journal of Oral Biology and Craniofacial research, in 2021, about evaluating the effect and longevity of Botulinum toxin type A; botox is an easy-to-use, safe, and economical way of gummy smile treatment. BTX-A has a lifespan of 5 months. After the 5th month, the effects of botox gradually decrease.
This technique is similar to botox in some respects. Again, the idea is restricting the hyperactive movements of the muscles in the upper lift. Instead of botulinum toxin, hyaluronic acid is injected in this procedure. However, the effects are relatively long, as much as eight months. The hyaluronic acid injection is not very expensive, but some severe complications might happen. Therefore, you should discuss this treatment with your dentist elaborately.
How is The Gummy Smile Correction Process?
As you can understand from the treatment options explained above, the correction process of a gummy smile depends on the cause and some other treatment-based factors. So basically, we can categorize the correction process into two: surgical corrections and non-surgical corrections.
Surgical Correction Process
Gingivectomy, lip repositioning, and orthognathic surgery are the surgical ways of eliminating gummy teeth. Gingivectomy, in particular, is the most common surgical operation. People in good general and dental health are better candidates for gingivectomy. It usually takes less than an hour, and you can see immediate effects after the procedure. The healing period is usually one week, and the effects are long-lasting.
During a gingivectomy surgery, the diseased tissue is trimmed down and removed. Then, the remaining gum tissue is attached around the teeth using sutures. After all, the area is rinsed and cleaned.
Non-Surgical Correction Process
Injecting botox or hyaluronic acid and using anchorage devices are non-surgical procedures. They offer a temporary solution but are still preferred by some patients due to being less invasive and less expensive. Which treatment to be followed mostly depends on your case and the dentist’s guidance.
Can Veneers Fix Gummy Smiles?
It depends. You can utilize veneers for gummy smiles if the root of the problem is the size of your teeth. Thanks to veneers, dentists can make your teeth look taller, and the amount you expose when you smile gets larger. It means you show less gum but more teeth. Even a crown or two can be used to make your teeth look bigger. This might be just what you need to get rid of a gummy smile. Therefore, you should talk about it with your dentist before jumping to more invasive treatment alternatives.
How Much Does A Gummy Smile Treatment Cost?
As for the cost of gummy smile treatment, the UK might be rather pricey. Only a laser gum contouring operation can cost up to £1000 depending on the teeth amount. A comprehensive gummy smile makeover, including restoration of your teeth with veneers, might cost up to £20.000. Since the majority of the problems count as cosmetic dentistry, your insurance will not be able to help you with the expenses.
Though non-surgical treatments are less affordable, you may end up having paid much more after a few years since you need to renew your TAD or botox at intervals. Moreover, injection treatments like botox or hyaluronic acid are charged per tooth. Thus, if you need correction with more than one tooth, you should add up the price accordingly.
The good news is that gummy smile makeovers are much more affordable abroad. You can find high-quality dental treatment at affordable prices in a few hours of flight.
Celebrities With A Gummy Smile
As long as you have healthy teeth and proper oral hygiene, a gummy smile is not an emergent problem. It usually doesn’t require urgent treatment. Thus, some people can just enjoy the way they smile. Here are some stars shining with their gummy smiles.
Jennie Kim, a member of the girls’ K-pop group Blackpink, is climbing up the ladder in her singing career faster these days. Aside from her beautiful voice and dancing skills, Jennie is also well-known for her gummy smile.
Min Yoongi, better known as Suga, is another K-pop star. He is a member of the music group BTS, and he has millions of followers across the world. The only common thing between Jennie and Suga is not that they are both K-pop stars, but also, that they both have a nice gummy smile.
Who Are Some Other K-Pop Idols With Gummy Smiles?
Jennie and Suga are not the only K-pop stars with gummy smiles. There are some other names that most of you are familiar with. For example, Han Jisung (Stray kids), Solar (Mamamoo), Nayeon (Twice)…and so on. They all look happy with their gummy smile.
FAQs About Gummy Smile
The issue of gummy smiles has raised lots of questions. People are always asking about the causes and treatments of the excessive gingival display. Here are some of the most popular questions compiled for you.
Can Braces Cause A Gummy Smile?
Braces can be responsible for a gummy smile in an indirect way. As some people using braces find brushing and flossing harder and more effortful, they may ignore oral hygiene, which leads bacteria to build up in the teeth roots. Thus, they might have bigger gums eventually.
Ironically, you can reformulate this question as “can braces fix a gummy smile?” because, braces are prescribed in some dental treatments so that the alignment of the teeth can be corrected. It gives a better biting through repositioning the teeth array and offers better-looking teeth and gum harmony.
Can Invisalign Fix A Gummy Smile?
Yes, Invisalign can help reduce gummy smiles if the problem is caused by a bad bite. Invisalign can straighten the teeth array and reduce the gum tissue exposed when you smile or talk.
Can lip fillers fix a gummy smile?
If the cause of the problem (at least partially) is the small lip volume, lips fillers or lip injections can help the patients hide the gum tissue remarkably.
Does An Overbite Cause A Gummy Smile?
An overbite can prompt unreasonable wear on an individual’s incisors. In addition, an overbite can result in a gummy smile and protruding lips.
Does Gummy Smile Surgery Hurt?
The procedure is not painful as it is conducted under local anesthesia. Gummy smile correction is known as a crown lengthening procedure in which the excess gum tissue is cut to make the smile look more esthetic.