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Westdene Dental

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Gummy Smiles

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A 'gummy' smile occurs when an excessive amount of gum is exposed when you smile. It's very common and can be treated by a periodontist. Some people describe the condition as having 'short' teeth but really this is because the teeth look relatively short due to being covered with excessive gum tissue. There are other factors that can cause gummy smiles, too, and the first thing your periodontist will do is establish the cause of your gummy smile.

Causes of gummy smiles

  1. Excess gum tissue covering the teeth
  2. Having worn-down teeth
  3. Having a high lip line
  4. Hyperactive lip elevator muscle
  5. Certain genetic conditions affecting the jaw
  6. Altered passive eruption

The treatment will largely be dictated by the cause of the problem. For excessive gum tissue and worn teeth, crown lengthening can provide a good solution. This is where gum tissue is removed using a simple surgical procedure. In some cases, laser treatment is available to remove excess gum tissue. Crowns and veneers can be placed after the treatment to optimise the aesthetic result.

If your teeth are very worn-down or naturally short they can be re-built with composite fillings or crowns. If the wear on the teeth is due to tooth grinding a gum shield may be prescribed in order to protect the teeth. In certain cases where the wear is particularly heavy the repair of the teeth may be referred to a specialist in restorative dentistry.