Do you know what Miley Cyrus, Nicole Kidman and Blake Lively have in common other than the fact that they are all famous and highly paid Hollywood celebrities? You’ll probably never guess but they have all undergone dental treatments to fix their gummy smile!
What is a gummy smile?
Before we consider what a gummy smile is, an optimal smile by societal norms is one that reveals the least amount of gum tissues and one where your smile line is well aligned with your upper lip giving off a beautiful balanced look.
On the other hand, the gummy smile (also known as an excessive gingival display) by formal definition is one when you have more than 2 millimetres of gum showing when you smile. (Mostafa, 2018) This is not a hard and fast rule, if you feel that your upper front teeth look very short and your gum tissues show too much when you smile, fret not because you can seek help and get it fixed as well!
What causes a gummy smile?
So are you curious as to why one develops a gummy smile? Here are some of the most common causes of a gummy smile:
Under Eruption of Tooth : Even if the tooth is of the correct length, the under eruption makes the tooth appear short due to the coverage by the gums.
Excessive Growth of the Upper Jaw : This causes the jaw to bulge out more than usual. The vertical position of the jaws can cause the appearance of your smile to be gummier.
Short or Overactive Muscles near Upper Lips : These muscles will lift the lips upward more when smiling, revealing more gums which can lead to the image of a gummy smile.
Worn Out Tooth (also known as attrition) : Bad habits like tooth grinding can wear the tooth down to make it appear short. Additionally, excessive consumption of fizzy drinks or highly acidic food can lead to the erosion of tooth which similarly affects the length of the tooth.
What happens if you leave it untreated?
Having a gummy smile is in fact a very common condition so you don’t have to feel like it is something to be extremely concerned by. This condition has been reported to be found amongst 10% of 20-30 year olds with its occurrence reducing with age. (Ali & Ines, 2020)
There is actually nothing specifically detrimental about having a gummy smile. But the primary reason why many (such as the celebrities mentioned above) choose to seek treatment for it is because that they found it to be unattractive. While we don’t seek to propagate an “ideal” socially accepted image, many have found that by treating their gummy smile, they gained more confidence in smiling which led to positive effects of increasing self-esteem!
So if anything, you should seek treatment for your gummy smile only if YOU want it.
Gummy Smile Treatment & Cost
There are many ways to treat a gummy smile depending on the its root cause. Here are some common treatments (and their respective costs) that you can undergo to help remove your gummy smile :
Dental Laser for Gummy Smile :
The dentist will cut and reshape the gum tissues using a concentrated laser beam. The laser is a new technology designed to not emit any form of heat or vibrations. Additionally, the laser cauterises the wound and there is no need for stitches after the procedure. This guarantees the safety of the patient and offers minimal bleeding.
This method of treatment is generally the most preferred amongst patients due to the comfort it provides and that results are immediately noticeable after the procedure. However, the down side is that results may not be permanent and gums may grow back. To prevent this, dentist may reshape some of the underlying jaw bone. In some instances, the tooth root may also become exposed and the teeth can become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
*Cauterization is a medical technique of burning to close off part of the body.
Average Cost: $650-$5000
*Prices increase based on the complexity and the number of tooth that requires the treatment.
Botox Injection for Gummy Smile:
You may be surprised to know that other than reducing your wrinkles, Botox can be injected near the overactive upper lips muscles to treat your gummy smile. The Botox essentially limit the contraction of the overactive muscle which helps to reduce the exposure of gums when you smile.
While the effects of this treatment is instantaneous, they are also temporary. Botox injections typically only last 3-6 months and you would have to go back to your doctor for a second dose.
Average Cost: $200-$500 per dose
Lip Filler Injections for Gummy Smile:
A gel-like filler is injected into the upper lip increasing the fullness. This will make the gums less noticeable. Similar to Botox injections, effects are temporary and last form 6-8 months.
Average Cost: $600-$800 per dose
Orthodontic Treatment or Surgery for Gummy Smile:
This procedure is specifically targeted at those who have an excessive upper jaw growth. The dentist could suggest the use of orthodontic appliances such as braces to help with jaw alignment for less severe cases. For those with more severe cases, your dentist could suggest a jaw correction surgery.
Average Cost: $4000 & above
Lip Repositioning Surgery for Gummy Smile:
A small portion of tissue from the upper lip is removed before stitching to the gum. This will prevent the lips from moving upwards too much when smiling which can reduce the amount of gum exposed.
Average Cost: $4000 & above
The Best Gummy Smile Treatment Varies
Ultimately, the type of treatment recommended by your dentist will depend on each individual case. For example, dental laser may not be suitable for those who have weak tooth roots as the added exposure may compromise the structure of the whole tooth. Therefore, please always choose a reliable and trustworthy dentist so that your case can be well assessed.
Here at Vivid Dental Surgeons, we aim to educate our patients on matters regarding oral hygiene and health. Especially amidst this COVID-19 period, we encourage everyone to stay safe and maintain good oral hygiene. Let’s all do our part in keeping the community and ourselves healthy.
If you liked this article, you can click here to read about other oral health related articles posted on our blog.
Additionally, if you have any questions regarding gummy smile treatments or other oral health related matters, feel free to drop Dr Ryan a message here.
Dr Ryan and the Vivid Dental Team wishes everyone a pleasant and virus-free day ahead!