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Does Treating or Rehabilitating a Gummy Smile Require Surgery?

Posted in Gum Contouring, Smile Makeover

Posted on January, 12 2023 by Gerald M. Marlin, DMD, MSD
before after gummy smile

Gum tissue protects teeth and the supporting bone, making it an essential part of your oral health. However, what happens when gum tissue covers too much of the teeth or when the teeth are disproportionately worn down making the gum tissue appear more dominant leading to what is known as a gummy smile?

A gummy smile, also called excessive gingival display, can affect the appearance of the teeth, causing them to look small and misshapen depending on the contouring of the gums. The impact of excessive gum tissue on a person’s confidence and appearance causes many people with gummy smiles to seek treatment.

Does treating or rehabilitating a gummy smile require surgery? Here are a few possible treatment options depending on your unique smile.

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Gum Surgery Is Not Indicated in Every Case

Although reshaping the gum tissue with surgery is a common technique when treating gummy smile, surgery is not indicated in every case. In some cases, crowns or dental veneers can be used to improve the appearance of the teeth and gums without the need for periodontal surgery.

There are other types of treatment for a gummy smile that you may qualify for, depending on your specific case. For example, Botulinum toxin, or Botox, has been successfully used to treat overactive lip muscles that can contribute to gummy smile. However, the effect of these injections only lasts a few months, meaning the treatment will need to be repeated in order to maintain its effect [1]. Botox may not be appropriate for every person with excessive gingival display.

Some patients may also need orthodontic treatment to resolve gummy smile. Most commonly, orthodontic treatment is needed in combination with other treatments for a comprehensive approach to addressing excessive gum tissue [2].

What to Expect When Gum Surgery Is Necessary

Gum surgery is a safe procedure that can help reshape or shorten gum tissue to reveal your natural smile and beauty.

There are different types of periodontal surgery to correct gummy smile, with the simplest being a gingivectomy wherein the tissue is reshaped in a minor procedure to make the crown or visible portion longer. Excess gum tissue is simply removed[3].

A laser is typically used to reshape or remove excess tissue in a gingivectomy or gum contouring procedure because it results in less post-operative discomfort and faster healing, typically up to a week or 10 days. The procedure itself takes between one to two hours.

While sedation is not necessary for every gum surgery procedure, it is available for patients who would like additional support feeling comfortable during their appointment. Elite Prosthetic Dentistry offers various levels of sedation as well as intravenous sedation for our patients. 

The Benefits of Treating Your Gummy Smile

The most significant benefit of treating your gummy smile is the aesthetic improvement patients experience when the process is complete. Patients who have their gummy smile treated are able to feel more confident and smile more with their corrected gum tissue and natural smile.

Gum recontouring surgery may also help prevent gum disease, which makes this procedure important for more than just your appearance and confidence. Since excess gum tissue can trap bacteria and food, some of those with a gummy smile may be predisposed to gum disease and gum irritation.

However, if you have a gummy smile and have existing gingivitis or a more advanced form of gum disease, you must have the condition properly treated before you qualify for treatment. Healthy gum tissue is necessary for patients to proceed with gummy smile treatment and reduce the risk of complications. 

Discover Your Options for Gummy Smile Treatment

Dr. Marlin and Dr. Talmazov at Elite Prosthetic Dentistry provide state-of-the-art treatment for patients with excessive gum tissue. We evaluate each patient’s unique smile to design a treatment plan that will be most effective and result in a natural-looking smile. Schedule a consultation with our award-winning team today to learn more.


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