Define Clinic

Providing an all encompassing face and smile treatment service for our patients

A gummy smile occurs for several reasons and sometimes due to a combination or reasons. At Define we have developed a series of unique treatment protocols using the expertise of Dr Hughes and Dr Dhillon, that combine cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics to help avoid surgery and to get the very best results possible.

A gummy smile can be due to:

  1. Excess gum growth
  2. Excess upper jaw bone growth
  3. Hypermobile upper lips during smiling
  4. Thin upper lip volume
  5. Short teeth
  6. Worn or eroded teeth
  7. Adverse Tooth movement or positions

When excessive gum tissue covers the upper teeth, making them look too short or disproportionate to the amount of gum on display when smiling, this is also known as excessive gingival display. Although teeth appear shorter, it may be that they are actually the proper length, but simply covered or hidden by the gums.

Treatments for this problem may involve a “mini” gum-lift by using a dental laser, or require a more advanced gum lift procedure, called ‘crown lengthening’, when some of the bone is carefully sculpted around the teeth and the gum level is raised to a more attractive position. Very often in these cases porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding is also carried out to perfect the smile.

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Sometimes the jaw bone has grown excessively and in extreme cases surgery is required to correct this problem. However in many cases that would have been referred for surgery in the past, these days alternative aesthetic treatments can be used.

For example, gummy smiles may be caused by a hyperactive muscle in the upper lip, causing it to rise higher than normal when smiling and exposing more gum tissue. The lips themselves may be thin and lacking volume. This is when medical aesthetic procedures Botox®️ injections can also be used to relax the mouth muscles and reveal less gum during movement. Filler treatments can then also enhance the volume of the lips to lower their bottom edge and mask the gum on display.

A gummy smile may be simply due to the teeth being very short. They can sometimes just grown this way naturally. Treatment usually involves a gum lift and an increase in the size of the teeth by placing porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding. This is a smile makeover which involves two different disciplines.

A very modern problem that patients suffer from is tooth wear and erosion. This can also make the teeth shorten over time and may occur due to grinding the teeth or by exposure to excess amounts of acid in the mouth. This can be quite a complex problem to treat if it is left for many years without intervention; the sooner it is diagnosed and treated the better. Treatment often requires orthodontic tooth repositioning and/or a gum lift and veneers or crowns. Patients with gastric acid reflux, bulimia or very acidic diets can be very prone to rapid tooth wear.

In some cases, the best treatment for a gummy smile may be using braces or orthodontics to reposition the teeth into more suitable positions. We can use almost invisible options like Invisalign, lingual braces or more conventional brace techniques.

At Define Clinic, we have both dental and medical experts in-house – Dr Mark Hughes and Dr Benji Dhillon – who together head up our exceptional team. During your consultation at Define Clinic, we will assess the cause of a gummy smile to determine the best course of treatment for you.

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