When you smile, do you find more of your gums than your teeth are on show? If so, you may be afflicted by a gummy smile. The name might sound cute but the condition can make people very unhappy, and afraid to show their smile off in public.
Other people complain that their teeth are “too short”. Unless your teeth are very worn, it’s more likely that they are standard length, but are covered by excess gum tissue, giving them a shorter appearance.
If this sounds familiar, the good news is that we can help. Meadowbank dentist Dr Sridhar Rao has a special interest in periodontology, an area of dentistry focused on the gums. Dr Rao offers gum contouring and teeth reshaping, which is used to correct gummy smiles and is sometimes referred to as smile design.
The first thing we will do if you come to see us about a gummy smile is to establish the cause. There are several causes of gummy smiles, including excess gum tissue, worn teeth, certain genetic conditions and a naturally high lip line. Once we’ve found the cause, we can recommend appropriate treatment.
Gum contouring is a simple treatment carried out under local anaesthetic, meaning you won’t feel any pain. Excess gum tissue is removed and more of the natural tooth is exposed. Afterwards you may need a few stitches, and any discomfort over the next few days should be mild and can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers. You may also find that special medicated mouthwash helps with the healing process.
If your teeth are worn, chipped or misshapen, we may recommend tooth reshaping. Again this is a simple procedure that requires only a local anaesthetic. A tiny amount of enamel is removed from the affected tooth, before it is polished to match your other teeth. Tooth reshaping can also be used for teeth that have small fractures or for those that are too pointy.