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How can a dentist fix a "gummy" smile?

Depending on the severity or the cause of the condition, different options are available. A laser gum lift can improve the appearance. Also, a lot of times a gummy smile develops from the way the jaw has developed. That can be corrected in a non-invasive way with remolding the bone with specific method of orthodontic/orthopedic therapy. In some rare instances, surgery can correct the problem.

When you smile, do you feel like everyone is staring at your gums? People whose gums cover too much of their upper teeth are said to have a "gummy smile."

If your gummy smile bothers you, a dentist or periodontist can remove some of the extra gum to reveal more of your teeth. If the tooth needs a crown, the periodontist will add it. This procedure is called crown lengthening. Once the extra gum has been removed, your gum line will be shaped to show off your pearly whites and give you a picture-perfect smile.
Gum-lifts (also called a gingivectomy) involve the removal of gum to make teeth appear longer and to make the gum-line even. People whose gums tend to cover the front teeth or those whose upper lip comes up high when they smile often become self-conscious about their "gummy" smile. Uneven gum-lines can make teeth appear to have different lengths, taking away from the appearance of an attractive smile.

For the procedure to correct these problems, a dentist will numb the area and remove the excess gum. Patients are instructed to use an antiseptic mouth rinse (for example Peridex) on a cotton swab and apply upward pressure to the gums as they heal. Gum lifts are not painful but some mild discomfort should be expected a day or two after the procedure. Gums are not damaged as long as the dentist has experience and is careful to remove the proper amount. Gum lifts can usually be completed in about 30 minutes. They generally cost about $75 to $175 per tooth. Sometimes, when a cosmetic dentist adds veneers to teeth, a gum lift can be added for little to no extra cost.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.