Causes of the Gummy smile
A high lip line is one of the most common causes of a gummy smile. Having a high lip line means your upper lip moves higher when you smile as compared with other people. An average lip line shows only the teeth in your upper jaw and the bits of gum that extend upwards between your teeth. A high lip line, in comparison, shows your upper teeth and a substantial amount of gingival tissue.
There are other causes of a gummy smile. Problems occurring when permanent teeth erupt or come out through the gum tissue to fill the empty spot left behind by primary teeth, commonly known as “baby teeth.” An abnormal eruption of teeth can cause excessive gum tissue to develop around the newly erupted teeth, making the teeth look short even though they are the proper length.
A muscle problem may cause a gummy smile. The muscle the controls your upper lip may be hyperactive, which causes your upper lip to rise higher than normal when you smile. Improper growth and development of your upper jawbone can cause a gummy smile. An excessive bulge protruding from your upper jaw may push your gum tissue downward over your teeth.
- An excessive display of gum tissue in your upper jaw can result from the abnormal eruption of the teeth. Teeth covered by excessive gum tissue appear short, even though they may actually be the proper length.
- The muscle that controls the movement of your upper lip could be hyperactive, causing your upper lip to rise up higher than normal. When this occurs, more of your gum tissue is exposed when you smile.
- The manner in which your upper jaw bone grew and developed could cause the appearance of a gummy smile. For instance, if there was an excessive bulging protrusion of the upper jaw within the gum tissue, you would experience an obvious gummy appearance when you smile.
An Esthetic Problem or Something More of a gummy smile?
The smile line or esthetic zone – the teeth that are showing when you are smiling – is determined by several factors, including:
- The shape and size of your lips.
- Your facial muscles.
- The shape and size of your teeth.
- Your gum tissue.
The optimal smile line appearance should reveal the least amount of gum tissue possible. Gum tissue visible in the smile line should have balanced, even contours that are in harmony with the upper lip. It is for this reason that many people with a gummy smile or excessive gingival display feel their smile to be unattractive, oftentimes feeling reluctant to smile at all.
However, more serious underlying dental conditions could be present. For example, if you have a gummy smile caused as a result of how the teeth erupted and how the jaw developed, you may also have an uncomfortable or improper bite that could ultimately affect your long-term oral health.