December 10, 2023

Can braces or Invisalign fix a gummy smile?

In any case of a gummy smile, Dr. Dunn or Dr. Schreiber can create a personalized treatment plan to correct your condition and help you feel confident in your smile!

As a 5-star orthodontic practice in Wetumpka, Montgomery, and Millbrook, AL, our orthodontists are highly-experienced in braces and Invisalign treatment…including cases of fixing gummy smiles.

So, “can orthodontics fix a gummy smile?” we say Yes! Through Dr. Dunn and Dr. Schreiber’s combined expertise in dentistry and orthodontics, they’ll create a comprehensive treatment plan that will optimize both the aesthetics and functionality of your grin.

What causes gummy smile?

If your gums reveal themselves when you smile, this is called a “gummy smile”. Also called “excessive gingival display”, gummy smiles are present when at least 2 mm (millimeters) of excess gum tissue is on display.

Some common causes are:

  • Orthodontic issues. Unhealthy teeth and jaw alignments can show more gum tissue than normal.
  • Genetics. Some people are born with excessive gum tissue leading to a gummy smile.
  • Hyperactive lip muscles. Muscles in the upper lip can stretch too high causing more gum tissue to show than usual.

Different types of gummy smiles

There are four different classifications of gummy smiles, including:

  1. Anterior – Excess gum tissue shows above the front teeth (typically in between the two canines) in the upper jaw. This especially the case for an overbite gummy smile, as your upper jaw protrudes more than a healthy one which leads to more gum showing than usual.
  2. Posterior — Excess gum tissue shows above the back teeth in the upper jaw.
  3. Mixed — Excess gum tissue shows above the front teeth and back teeth in the upper jaw.
  4. Asymmetric — Excess gum tissue shows on just one side of the mouth in the upper jaw.

How to fix a gummy smile

When you visit us for your complimentary consultation, Dr. Dunn or Dr. Schreiber will perform a comprehensive orthodontic exam (using advanced digital imaging) to assess your teeth, gums, and jaw alignment.

Your orthodontist will then use these high-quality images, along with your digital impressions taken by our iTero® scanner, to determine the most effective route for gummy smile correction.

Any of the following treatment options (or a combination of treatments) may be included in your personalized treatment plan:

  • Braces or Invisalign – Orthodontic treatment using braces or Invisalign can be effective for minor cases of gummy smiles. Using braces or Invisalign will move the teeth into the right position and correct the patient’s bite, which results in significantly less gum tissue exposure.
    An appliance called TADs (titanium anchorage devices) may be implanted into the patient’s bone during orthodontic treatment. These mini, temporary implants help move the teeth into their optimal positions and can fix more severe cases of gummy smile.
  • Gingivectomy – A gingivectomy, or gummy smile surgery, helps reshape excess gums to real the natural shape of the teeth. This treatment creates harmony between the gums, which are shortened, and the teeth, which are lengthened. The procedure is moderately effortless, and patients normally experience minimal post-operational distress. Your orthodontist will refer you to a certified gum specialist (periodontist) for this procedure.
  • Crown Lengthening – With this technique, excess gum tissue and the basic bone are sliced and reshaped to uncover the full length of the teeth. The cycle takes around an hour and typically doesn’t need extra post-operative care. Your orthodontist will refer you to a certified specialist for this procedure.
  • Lip or Jaw Surgery – In the event that a gummy smile is caused by moderate to serious upper jaw distension, an orthognathic (jaw) medical procedure is commonly the best treatment available to improve health and appearance.

During jaw surgery, an oral surgeon recontours the upper jaw to the right size and guides it into the right position. At that point, they secure the jaw with screws and plates. General sedation is managed before the medical procedure and may require a hospital stay afterward.

How to determine the right treatment for gummy smile

The best way to determine the right treatment for gummy smiles is by visiting us for a complimentary exam and consultation. There are several factors that may be contributing to your condition, and these require a professional assessment to create a truly personalized treatment plan.

If you haven’t seen any incredible transformations lately, check out our before-and-after photos to see what we can do for you too.

Ready to experience your own transformation? Let’s get started with a complimentary, no-risk consultation at any of our 3 convenient locations in Alabama. Request yours today!

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