What Is Excessive Gingival Display And How Can It Be Resolved?

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Also referred to as gummy smile, excessive gingival display is showing too much gum tissue when smiling. It can be the result of a number of different dental related conditions, and the best way to resolve the issue depends upon the underlying cause. But whichever the case, the three main components of a smile and that will determine how much gum tissue is seen are the gums themselves, teeth and supporting bone, and the lips.

So which lip is responsible for a gummy smile?

If too short or too active, the upper lip is normally responsible for excessive gingival display. If your upper lip is too active or too short to properly cover the gums and teeth while at rest, then the results are a gummy smile. Simply put, the condition can come about due to inadequate lip length.

Where the length of your lips is normal while resting, but lifts up too high when you smile, then you might have what is commonly referred to as hypertonic or hyperactive lip. The length of the upper lip should be considered before moving jaws and teeth to match it. Changing a normal face to match a short lip might result in it looking too short. A number of surgical procedures can be performed to reduce the upper lip’s tonicity and strengthen it. This is mostly done by relaxing the associated muscles. You can opt for a permanent surgical procedure or a less invasive procedure type such as Botox, which provide only temporary results.

Incorrect position of jaws or teeth

If a patient’s muscle activity and lip length is normal, and the length of the gum tissue over the crowns of the teeth is also normal, then the issue could be with the position of his or her jaws or teeth. In some cases, the jaws are positioned appropriately, but the teeth are just too long. On the other hand, the teeth might be the right length but the entire upper jaw is overdeveloped. If the jaws or teeth are only slightly long, then the use of braces with temporary anchorage devices or any of the normal braces in Leaside might be able to solve the problem. They do so by intruding the long teeth and tucking the attached gum tissue back under the upper lip.

Where the upper jaw is over 2mm, or the amount of excess gum displayed is due to the elongation of the teeth, moving the entire jaw upwards might be the only solution. It should be noted that the repositioning of jaws or teeth should only be performed where it has been determined that the lips and amount of gum tissue are normal.

Gums that are too long can also result in a gummy smile

If your upper jaw size, tooth length, and lips are all normal, then the problem might be with your gums or teeth that haven’t fully erupted. Some people have gummy smile because their gums are too long, a condition that is commonly referred to as gingival hypertrophy. A specialized dentist such as an orthodontist can help determine if a patient has excess gum using a periodontal probe. With this appliance, he can tell where a patient’s gums lie on the teeth, and if they are too long. Where gums are too long, the appropriate solution is to have them removed though a periodontic surgery. This procedure is known as gingivectomy.

All in all, it is important to have your gummy smile diagnosed by a specialist such as an orthodontist prior to any remedy could be prescribed. These dental specialists are professionals in evaluating the gums, jaws, teeth and lips, and how they all work as one to create a perfect smile.

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