Got A Gummy Smile?

Do you have a gummy smile?  You know, the smile where you show more gums than teeth… sometimes making your teeth look short or small.

If so, you’re not alone.  Most beauty pagent winners have gummy smiles.

But what about too gummy?

As a dentist I’ve been trained to evaluate smiles aesthetically and the gums are just as important as the teeth.

The following are the things we look at, other than color:

  • Your gumline (the line where your tooth ends and the gums begin) is uneven.
  • The height and width of your teeth.
  • How many teeth are shown (ie. how many back teeth can I see when you smile.
  • Are the edges or your upper teeth straight or parallel to your eye line?
  • Do you have any “black” spaces between any of your teeth?
  • When you’re not smiling, can I see any part of your teeth?
  • Symmetry – is the right side a mirror image of your left.
  • Is the color of the gums the same on both sides?

But today, let’s look at the gums.  How much gums can you show and still look acceptable?  The answer is a maximum of 2 mm.  Two millimeters of gum is acceptable as they don’t over power the teeth.

The other key element is that the 2mm be 2mm across the whole smile.  In other words, you can have 2 mm of gums shown in the front and 6 mm of gum shown in the back or 0 mm of gums showing in the back of the mouth.

If that happens, then your teeth will not look proportional because some teeth will look bigger and some smaller.  The reason being, your teeth start and end with the gums.

You Self-Diagnose a gummy smile… now what?

As a dentist in San Diego, I’ve seen how patients can be shocked when I mention their gummy smiles.  It’s because no other dentist mentioned it as most dentists look at teeth.  I like to say that I look at smiles and the whole body.  The teeth are a small component.

Anyway… what can you do if you have a gummy smile.  The real answer is….  as one of my mentors told me, “it depends!”

It depends on why you have a gummy smile.  As you know, treatment should be driven by a diagnosis.  All too often treatment is done without figuring out what really went wrong.

Now I know what you are thinking.  If it doesn’t hurt, then don’t fix it.  If that is true, then why do you put makeup on…. why do you put deodorant on… why do you take a bath?

A gummy smile to me is not pretty and if I point it out to you, then you may feel the same way.

So there are 4 main reason why you have a gummy smile and each requires a different treatment.  The treatments can range from full blown jaw surgery to orthodontics to minor gum surgery to restorative dentistry.

If you want to know more… I’ll be sharing more in my newsletters.  Just go to my site and sign up.