A gummy smile results when more gum tissue than the teeth are shown when a person smiles; in this case, the smile looks awkward as the teeth become smaller in size when compared to the gum tissue. Regardless of how bright the teeth are, the smile can become less attractive and can look abnormal – when more gum tissue than usual is shown. A smile looks healthy when it shows a normal amount of teeth and not too much of the gum tissue.
There are several factors that lead to a gummy smile problem. In some instances, a combination of two or more of these factors is involved, showing more gum tissue than what is normally seen in people who have beautiful, and normal-looking, smiles. Genetics play a huge role in cases when teeth turn out to be much smaller than usual, which in turn makes the gums look bigger than normal. Worn teeth can look smaller when compared to healthy teeth, and can make the gums look bigger in comparison. In addition, problems with teeth that have not completely erupted from the gums can make these affected teeth look abnormally small in size and make the gums look like they are covering a bigger area when one opens the mouth, or smiles. Upper lips that are short, or are positioned higher than normal, can cause the gums to always be visible since it may be difficult to keep the lips closed and pressed normally together. Deformities involving the jaw bone can also contribute to gums that look unnaturally bigger compared to the teeth.
A smile that shows too much gum tissue can be addressed with a gum re-shaping or gum contouring procedure, using laser technology. This cosmetic dentistry laser treatment effectively changes the shape and size of the gums, so that the teeth can look bigger and more normal and the smile can look more attractive as a result. As the gums are altered in shape and size, the teeth become the main feature of the smile, without the unnatural look of bigger gum tissue showing.
Another gummy smile treatment involves changing the position and the shape of the upper lip with a surgical procedure, so that the upper lip can provide adequate cover for the gum tissue. As the upper lip is re-shaped, it can cover the gums and the part of the upper teeth in a normal way so that the smile looks more natural as well.