Cosmetic Gum Surgery

Cosmetic dentistry is much more than having some nice white teeth.  The teeth are just a part of the whole.  In order to have an aesthetically pleasing smile, we have to think of, not only the “white stuff” (teeth), but also the “black stuff” (negative space within our mouth) and the “pink stuff” (gingiva).  All three of these have to be in harmony and balanced.  Too often, due to the excessive presence of the gingival tissue, an otherwise perfect smile become compromised by making the teeth appear too small for the face and result in a gummy smile.


Causes of Gummy Smile

A gummy smile might be caused by many factors.  

  • It can be due to something as simple as a lack of proper oral hygiene or an allergic reaction in which case the treatment would be as simple as providing a better oral hygiene habit or the suspension of the allergens.  
  • Certain medications such as anti-seizures and beta-blockers for heart conditions,  and systemic diseases such as AIDS and diabetes are also known to lead to an gummy smile.
  •  Pregnancy as well as oral contraceptive which alter the hormonal balance.  
  • A hyperactive lip would also lead to an abnormal showing of the gums.  
  • Another common cause of the gummy smile is due to the lack of a passive eruption of the teeth. This happens when, while the teeth are erupting normally, the gum and sometimes the bone follow the tooth in a downward eruption pattern instead of retreating or remaining at the normal desired level.

Gingivectomy or Gingivoplasty

Gingivectomy first was developed to treat periodontal disease. Today, it is more commonly used to remove overgrown gum tissue and improve the appearance of gums.  Gingival tissue may need to be removed for two reasons:

  • Gaps (pockets) have formed between the teeth and gums. This can trap bits of food, harbor colonies of bacteria, and make it difficult to keep the area clean. If the pockets involve only soft tissue, they can be removed by a gingivectomy (trimming of the gums).
  • There is too much gum tissue around the teeth. Some people don’t like how this looks and want to have it removed. It also can make teeth and gums hard to keep clean. In severe cases, this condition can interfere with chewing and speech. Excess growth of gum tissue can be caused by certain medicines. Sometimes there is no apparent cause.

Gingivoplasty often is done simply to make gums look better. They may have an unusual shape or may not be formed normally. The causes can include a person’s genes, disease or trauma. Gingivoplasty reshapes the gums to make them look more natural. It often is done alone, but can be done during or after a gingivectomy. Gingivoplasty also can be done along with a gum graft. This type of surgery adds tissue to the gum line.