Ideally, your gums should be a subtle frame for your smile. Rather than calling attention to themselves, they should allow onlookers to enjoy the sight of your beautiful, healthy teeth. However, if more than a few millimeters of gum tissue is visible when you smile, you have what is known as a “gummy smile in the Capital District.” This is a fairly common issue; roughly 14 percent of women and 7 percent of men have extra visible gum tissue when they smile. But just because this is a common issue doesn’t mean you have to put up with it forever. Your dentist offers a few treatments that may help.
Gum Contouring and Crown Lengthening
Gum contouring, also called a gingivectomy, is a minimally invasive surgery wherein a dentist gently removes excess gum tissue in order to expose more of the tooth structure beneath it. Many dentists use a soft tissue laser for this, which allows for precise cutting that reveals the most natural-looking results. The laser also minimizes the risk of infection and bleeding, and it contributes to the quickest recovery time possible.
Crown lengthening is similar to gum contouring. Both procedures involve the use of a laser to reshape the gum issue. However, crown lengthening also involves reshaping the bone in order to expose the full length of a patient’s dental crowns (the portion of teeth that is normally visible outside of the gumline).
Botox for Lip Repositioning
In some cases, excess gum tissue is not the only reason for a gummy smile. The upper lip may move too far upward when you smile, causing an abnormal amount of gum tissue to be visible. In such cases, your dentist might recommend a Botox injection. The Botox will relax the muscles in the upper lip, hindering their ability to draw back too far. It is important to note that this procedure will not interfere with your ability to smile. Rather, it will enhance your smile’s natural curvature.
Dentists have an in-depth understanding of facial anatomy, so they are highly qualified to administer Botox. However, in New York State, dentists can only offer Botox as part of a dental treatment plan, not as a standalone service. Therefore, your dentist may only offer this treatment if you are undergoing additional procedures in their office. For example, gum contouring and Botox often complement each other and work together to give patients their ideal smile line.
Does your gummy smile bother you? Your local cosmetic dentist will be happy to analyze your smile’s aesthetics and design a treatment plan to help you love what you see in the mirror.
About the Dentists
Drs. Erin Page and Shiloh Lieberman are the general and cosmetic dentists at Capital Smiles. They have both completed extensive training in various facets of their profession. They enjoy combining art and science to help patients love the way their smiles look. To learn more about them or to ask questions about how they can correct a gummy smile, contact our team at 518-374-0317.