It is important for everyone to have a confident smile to carry them through life. A beautiful smile reveals white teeth and the least amount of gum tissue possible.
When teeth look too small and the gums look too big, it is a case that dentists refer to as excessive gingival display or a gummy smile. In this situation, the gum tissue extends too far over the tooth enamel making the teeth look too small. This condition can be corrected with cosmetic gum surgery.
The Causes of a Gummy Smile
There are several reasons why a person develops excessive gingival display or a gummy smile, including the following:
- Teeth grinding
- A short upper lip
- A longer than usual upper jawbone
- Tooth position
- Musculature of the upper lip
- Taking a medication commonly used for epilepsy called phenytoin (Dilantin)
- Taking immunosuppressive drugs after undergoing organ transplant surgery
Some patients are not troubled by the condition or appearance of their gums, especially if it is how their gumline has always been. Other patients cannot tolerate the appearance of excessive gums and choose to have cosmetic surgery.
The Gum-Reduction Procedure
Cosmetic gum surgery is a procedure that can be performed on one tooth or a grouping of teeth, which is the more common scenario, to create a new gumline. Excess gum tissue is excised to expose more of the natural tooth. The resulting gumline is attractively sculpted to create a new smile with normal sized teeth.
The surgery is typically accomplished in one visit to a cosmetic dentist. Local anesthesia is used for the procedure. The gum contouring is performed with laser to remove the unwanted tissue. In some cases, excess bone material is also removed. Bone removal is far less common and a far more involved surgical procedure.
It is important to note that a qualified cosmetic dentist or periodontist takes great care not to expose the roots of the teeth during cosmetic gum surgery.
After the Procedure
There is some discomfort associated with cosmetic gum surgery. Depending upon the extent of the procedure, there can be some soreness. If gum surgery involves removing bone as well as gum tissue, the soreness will be increased and last longer.
An antibacterial mouth rinse is prescribed to be used twice daily for two weeks to help avoid any oral infection.
While there is discomfort during healing that will take several days to weeks to resolve, the visual results of the surgery are seen immediately. The newly contoured gumline will be tender and swollen for several days but the dramatic removal of excess gum tissue is noticed immediately upon completion of the procedure.
Cosmetic gum surgery will correct and beautify a smile, thereby boosting the patient’s self-esteem and self-confidence in social and professional situations.
It is important to have the dental work done by a qualified, experienced cosmetic dentist or periodontist to achieve the best results.