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Reasons for a Gummy Smile and What Laser Treatments Do for It
Gummy smiles are often a natural phenomenon, but one that can make people feel less confident or even embarrassed to smile openly around others. Thankfully, your dentist can help you feel more confident and boost your oral health by pursuing gum contouring or other treatment methods.
What is a gummy smile, and why do they develop?
A gummy smile is one that shows an excessive amount of gum tissue when a person is fully smiling. What constitutes a gummy smile is up for some debate, but a general rule of thumb is that two millimeters or less of gum tissue should be visible.
There are a few reasons for gummy smiles.
Excessive Gum Growth
Some people have had gummy smiles since childhood, while others might develop them in puberty. Medical conditions can also trigger excessive gum growth.
Sometimes the gums aren’t the problem; it’s actually the teeth that are too small. Very small or short teeth can make an otherwise acceptable gum reveal look much more exaggerated.
Hyperactive Upper Lip
A hyperactive upper lip or a person’s natural upper lip anatomy may result in a very wide reveal while fully grinning. The lip simply moves farther upward than what’s considered normal, thus exposing more of the gum tissue.
Plaque Build-Up/Gum Disease
Gum disease can also temporarily cause a gummy smile. Plaque build-up trapped in the gums leads to swelling and puffiness, resulting in a more gummy smile.
Can gummy smiles be reversed?
In the majority of cases, yes! Whether you were born with a gummy smile, developed one as you matured, or a health condition caused excessive gum tissue, there are several ways your dentist can help.
Most gummy smiles can be treated through gum contouring, a surgical procedure that pushes back the gum tissue to expose more tooth crown. This procedure is also useful for reshaping the gums to form a more attractive line where it meets the teeth.
Farless Dental Group uses soft-tissue dental lasers for gum contouring services.
Dental veneers can be used to treat a gummy smile independently or in combination with gum contouring. If your gummy smile is the result of short teeth, dental veneers can lengthen your teeth without affecting your gums. If your teeth are short and you have excessive gum tissue, your dentist may first contour your gums and then follow up with veneers.
Lip positioning surgery is a way dentists can change how much of your smile is revealed by your upper lip. It can be done independently or in combination with gum contouring.
Excessive gum tissue caused by gum disease must be treated before cosmetic dental care can be pursued. Periodontal (perio) therapy is a type of treatment plan that focuses on eliminating infection and bacteria in the gums through deep cleaning sessions and laser gum surgery.
What can I expect from laser gum contouring?
The idea of a laser being used in dentistry can initially be alarming to those unfamiliar with the technology. Lasers are powerful, but they’re also exceptionally precise with inherent qualities that make them perfect for medical and dental surgery. You might even say that a dental laser is a gentler and safer tool for oral surgery than a traditional scalpel because of its cauterizing effect.
During your procedure you’ll be given a local anesthetic, perhaps accompanied by an oral sedative or nitrous oxide, if you opt for sedation dentistry. Once you’re sufficiently numb and feeling relaxed, your dentist will begin using their laser dental tool to begin reshaping and moving back your natural gum line. If you’re receiving lip positioning surgery, the laser will instead be used to clip back excessive connective tissue under your lip.
Many patients receiving cosmetic laser gum contouring will also need dental crowns or a set of dental veneers to protect their now-exposed tooth roots. Your dentist will perform whichever service you’re receiving immediately after contouring your gums. In most cases you’ll wear temporary crowns or veneers until your permanent restorations arrive from a dental lab in a couple of weeks.
Healing after laser gum contouring is typically pretty easy, but it’s important to follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions. Take it easy for a couple of days, eat approved foods only, and practice excellent oral hygiene.
Why is laser gum contouring preferred by patients?
Dentists love the precision of laser dentistry, but patients also prefer laser gum contouring to traditional gum surgery.
Laser gum contouring benefits include:
- Minimized chance of damage to surrounding teeth and soft tissues
- Reduced bleeding, swelling, and post-op pain
- A shorter and more comfortable recovery
- Fewer complications or chance of infection during healing
All in all, laser dentistry provides a more enjoyable experience during and after gum contouring. Farless Dental Group also uses laser dentistry for other soft-tissue procedures, including dental implant surgery and oral biopsies.
Book your laser gum contouring consultation in Greensboro, NC.
If your gummy smile doesn’t make you feel confident, it’s time to schedule a consultation for laser gum contouring. During your consultation, Dr. Farless will examine your smile and discuss options for bringing balance to your smile. You’ll talk about the laser gum contouring treatment process as well as additional procedures, like dental veneers. Schedule your consultation today by calling Farless Dental Group or requesting a visit online.