August 15, 2016
When someone asks you to say cheese, what do you do?
Do you grin from ear-to-ear? Do you smile comfortably?
Or do you hesitate, wondering if you should smile naturally or if you should keep your lips firmly pressed together?
If the last scenario sounds familiar, is your concern because of your teeth or because your gums? We have services to address problems with your teeth, but we also can change gummy smiles at our dentist office in Salem, OR.
At Oregon Smile Care Center, we know that having a gummy smile can make some people feel uncomfortable in everyday situations. We also want to do what we can to help ease that discomfort.
What Is A Gummy Smile?
To borrow an idea from a former Supreme Court justice, we know a gummy smile when we see one. More importantly, you know if you have a gummy smile when you look at yourself in pictures or in the mirror.
To give a general description, a gummy smile is one that reveals as much or more gum tissue than teeth. All of us have a natural way of smiling.
If you see more gum than teeth, then you may be aware that this is less common than the other way around.
Why You May Have Your Gummy Smile
The reasons you have a gummy smile have to do with the specifics of your individual anatomy.
The appearance of your smile is affected by multiple factors, including:
▸ The size of your gum tissue
▸ The shape and size of your teeth
To give you a comparison, imagine a house.
Imagine this house was built on the ground level, and then someone piled mounds of dirt in front of it. The extra dirt would hide the view of the house from others.
Now imagine a different scenario. A builder digs out a hole for a basement, then proceeds to build the house without one.
This house would still be full-sized, but part of it would be blocked from view because of its relative location to the ground level.
The solution is similar in both situations. You will have to move some dirt if you want to be able to see the whole house.
Something similar could happen to your teeth. You may have more gum tissue than the average person, and that extra gum tissue may block the view of your teeth.
It’s also possible that your teeth are there but did not break all the way through the surface of your gums.
As with the partially hidden house, we need to remove the other stuff in order to see your teeth.
The procedure for removing gum tissue for cosmetic reasons is called gum reshaping or gum contouring.
At one time, this procedure was done with a scalpel. This means someone would cut into your gums to cut away the excess tissue. As you can imagine, this could be a painful procedure.
Today, we have a better way of accomplishing the same goal. We use a dental laser instead. This makes the procedure significantly less painful, and it means will be able to recover is less time than you would with a scalpel.
The laser effectively evaporates gum tissue. At the same time, the laser seals the remaining tissue.
The laser also allows our dentist to be more accurate so that he only removes the amount of gum tissue necessary so that he does not expose the roots of your teeth.
For many patients, gum contouring is done as a stand-alone procedure to improve the appearance of their smile.
However, gum contouring also can be included in a smile makeover. In other words, it can be done in combination with other procedures to change the overall appearance of your smile.
As an example, a patient who is considering veneers. This may not be possible if too much of his or her teeth are covered by gum tissue.
Performing a gum reshaping procedure may be a preliminary step that allows that patient to have his or her veneers bonded in place.
Talk To Us
Only you know if you consider your smile too gummy. If you do and you would like to change it, Oregon Smile Care Center can work with you to make the changes you would like to see.