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Treating a "Gummy" Smile Starts with Finding out the Cause

TreatingaGummySmileStartswithFindingouttheCause

You’re a bit self-conscious about your smile. But not because of your teeth — it’s your upper gums, which seem too prominent when you smile. While “too much” is a matter of perception varying from individual to individual, it’s generally accepted that a smile is “gummy” if four or more millimeters (a bit more than an eighth of an inch) of the gums are visible.

The good news is there are ways to improve the appearance of your gums. Which method we use, though, will depend on the underlying reason why the gums are prominent. The amount of gum tissue, in fact, may not be the problem at all, but could be the size of the crowns (the visible parts of teeth), the upper lip’s range of motion, the upper jaw’s position in relation to the face, or a combination of any of these.

For example, if your teeth didn’t erupt and develop properly, the gums might not have moved back to their proper position and stabilized as they should in your late teens or early twenties. A normal crown (the visible part of a tooth) is about 10 millimeters long, with a ratio of width to length of about 75-85%. Below those measurements the teeth can appear smaller, making even normal gum tissue appear larger. In another scenario, the upper lip may rise too high when you smile (hypermobility), which reveals too much of the gums.

If tooth size is the problem, we may recommend a periodontal surgical procedure called crown lengthening that reveals more of the tooth. A hypermobile lip can be treated with Botox shots to temporarily restrict the movement (it must be repeated every six months) or by surgically repositioning the lip muscles that control movement. Similarly, surgically repositioning an overlong upper jaw to make it appear shorter may be the right course.

That’s why our first step is to determine why your gums are too prominent with a complete dental examination. Knowing exactly why they stand out will help us devise a treatment plan that will greatly enhance your smile.

If you would like more information on improving a gummy smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gummy Smiles.”

Our Location

5640 W Broadway Ave Crystal, MN 55428-3510

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

8:00 am-7:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

7:00 am-4:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-1:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "This is a very professional place, but the atmosphere is so upbeat!!!! From the start of my interaction with the staff upon my leaving it was such a wonderful way to be treated. Everyone was so kind, caring, and considerate of my situation. They really put me at ease. The staff is Amazing!!!! I was overwhelmed by the experience. Thanks Crystal Dental Care!"
    Jon S.
  • "Michelle and Dr.Murphy were very helpful. Front desk ladies Tammy and I do apologize for forgetting the other ladies name, were so nice a welcoming. Everything was explained to me and I actually learn something regarding Diabetes and your oral health. Thanks again guys I will be back to get some treatments done in a few weeks."
    Shamika D.
  • "Great customer service! Wendy was so nice and super helpful with setting my appointment up and making sure I had all the right information. Thank you I will definitely refer everyone I know!"
    Queen A.
  • "Every staff member was kind and welcoming. I received clear and precise answers to all of my questions. Both the assistant and the dentist were gentle and respectful. I was given multiple options for a treatment plan with no pressure or up sales. It felt like affirming medical care. I’m looking forward to being a responsible and long term patient."
    Tobias B.
  • "Amy did a Fantastic job. She really put all of her skills in the cleaning. Probably the best cleaning I've ever had."
    Santos B.