Causes of a Gummy Smile
There are several factors that can cause a patient to have excessive gingival tissue including:
|•||The way a tooth erupts, and any disruption of the tooth fully being able to extend may cause a buildup of tissue.|
|•||Some patients experience a muscle hyperactivity of the upper lip. This hyperactivity may cause the lip to rise very high when chewing, talking or smiling.|
|•||Some patients may develop excess tissue from an overgrowth of the upper jaw.|
What is gum contouring?
Some patients develop an issue of excessive, hanging gum tissue. This is often known as a gummy smile, or a less flattering description of a horsey smile. Besides being aesthetically displeasing, gummy smiles also provide hiding places for food debris and bacteria to hide, making it difficult to remove when brushing, and increasing the likelihood of infection or decay. In this situation, the best course of action is the removal of the gum tissue.
Removing Excess Gingival Tissue
Generally speaking, when smiling, we prefer to see about two millimeters of gum tissue showing. Once the amount of gum tissue exceeds three to four millimeters, this is when it is classified as a gummy smile. Removing excessive gum tissue is a simple surgical procedure that is done in office. In most cases, the only pain relief needed is a basic topical anesthetic. Jefferson Call, DMD or Dix Densley, DDS will place the topical numbing, and then remove the excess tissue with small cuts. They will be sure to even the look with removing neighboring gum tissue, giving the patient a smooth look.
In some cases, Botox can be used to fix a gummy smile. Though, it only works if lip tissue is the problem, if bone adjustments are needed this will require more extensive orthognathic surgery. Botox can relax the muscle and reduce the lip retraction when smiling. Botox treatments are fast and painless. We apply the Botox treatment directly into the specific muscle that blocks nerve impulses from activating these muscles. The result will be skin that appear smoother and more relaxed.
Gum Contouring Aftercare
In the days following your gum contour procedure, you will need to treat your gums with care. Because the procedure involved making a series of cuts into the tissue, your mouth is more susceptible to infection. You can reduce the incidence of infection by treating the area with care. We will ask that the patient drinks plenty of water, and avoids eating anything abrasive that can open wounds, or drinking from straws which can induce bleeding. Patients are encouraged to keep the area clean with light, easy brushing, and using an antibacterial rinse.
For more information, or if you'd like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (971) 708-1608.