Healthy gums are designed to frame your teeth, hopefully complimenting a beautifully white smile. But what happens if they don’t really do this? People can have one of two problems, either that their smile looks “gummy” and they don’t show enough of their teeth, or that their gums have shrunk back or receded so they show too much teeth. Each of these issues is very different and does require different treatment.
Dealing with a Gummy Smile
A gummy smile is where the teeth are covered up by too much gum tissue so that when you smile you show more of your gums than you’d like. This can be due to the way the teeth have erupted, and it could be that your teeth are the right length but are simply covered up by too much gum tissue. It can also be due to the muscle in your upper lip being overactive, pulling the lip upwards more than is necessary. Sometimes it can be down to the way your upper jaw developed.
A gummy smile is largely an aesthetic problem that can probably be easily corrected by your dentist. The ideal smile should show as little gum tissue as possible, and any gums that are visible should have even contours creating a balanced appearance. Your dentist may recommend one of several different treatments. If your gummy smile is a relatively minor issue that it’s quite possible your dentist will be able to treat it by cutting away the excess gum tissue.
These days this is often done using a laser which helps ensure the process is simple, quick and as comfortable as possible. The use of the laser helps aid healing as it automatically seals any blood vessels during the process so there is less swelling and less chance of infection. If you need a more substantial amount of gum tissue removed, then it might be necessary to re-sculpt the bone underneath as well as the surrounding gums, lengthening the overall appearance of your teeth. This is quite often done prior to crowning or veneering the teeth. If the issue is down to an overactive lip muscle than it’s possible to have it repositioned surgically. Some people might benefit from braces to move their teeth into more suitable positions.
Dealing With Gums That Have Shrunk Back from Your Teeth
If your gums have shrunk back from your teeth then this could well be due to gum disease. If you haven’t visited a dentist in a while then it’s definitely important to get a proper diagnosis.
Any active gum disease must be treated as soon as possible to prevent further tissue loss. The real risk of gum disease is that it can lead to tooth loss as it not only attacks the gum tissue but also the bone surrounding your teeth. Once the gum disease is under control, it’s possible your dentist could be able to replace some of the missing gum tissue.
This can be done using surgical procedures such as gum grafts. This process takes tissue from another place in your mouth, for example the roof of your mouth and uses it to cover up the exposed tooth roots. This procedure not only helps improve the appearance of your teeth, but may help protect them from decay and could reduce tooth sensitivity.