A gummy smile or a smile where excessive exposure of the gums is there above the upper teeth when the patient smiles is a common problem. This can really hamper a patient's confidence and makes them feel very conscious.
There are various reasons for a gummy smile:
- A hyperactive muscle which controls the upper lip movement when smiling and causes excessive gingival exposure.
- Abnormal eruption of teeth, in case of teeth which are covered by gum tissue they look short even though they are of normal length.
- Abnormal or excessive bulging of the upper jaw can also result in obvious gumminess of the smile.
- High frenal attachment which pulls the upper lip up when a patient smiles.
There are various treatment options available to correct this gumminess which can bring a significant difference in the smile.
- Reshaping and trimming of the gum tissue over the teeth surfaces reduces the gingival exposure and makes the teeth look uniform and even. There are two methods of doing this one is a surgical technique and the other painless and bloodless method is to use lasers.
- Lowering the lip technique in cases of high frenal attachment.
- Orthodontic correction or repositioning of the teeth.
Black or discolored gums are another common complaint with many patients. This can drastically affect the smile and makes patients very conscious.There are various reasons for dark discolored gums like smoking also known as Smokers Melanosis which causes blackish brown discoloration on the gums, tongue and palate. Certain drugs like Minocycline or antidepressants also cause pigmentation. also tobacco chewing or drugs containing nicotine is a common cause.
This condition can be corrected with gingevctomy or gingivoplasty. In other words reshaping or resurfacing of the gums using the above methods can give excellent results. A technique commonly used for this is known as gum bleaching in which soft tissue lasers are used to lighten the gums. This is a relatively painless and bloodless technique as compared to the surgical approach.