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Wellness Wednesday: Idaho State Dental Association (ISDA): Gummy Smile

Posted at 7:18 AM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 09:18:26-04

Have you ever heard of gingival display? If not, Dr. W. Blake Bybee, a dentist from Hidden Springs Dental & a representative of the Idaho State Dental Association (ISDA) explains what gingival display is, a.k.a. “gummy smiles.”

A gummy smile is when your smile consists of mostly gums showing. It’s typically based on the person’s perception of his/her own smile.

Dr. Bybee says 3-4 millimeters of exposed gum line is disproportionate which results in a gummy smile.

The causes of a gummy smile include:

  • A bad bite: when the top jaw doesn’t align with the bottom jaw, it can cause a plethora of dental issues, one being a gummy slime. 
  • Medications: certain medications can have side effects that result in more of one’s gum showing. 
  • Hyperactive upper lip: this is due to genetics. This occurs when the upper lip & nose muscles are repeatedly overused, causing the top lip to raise & expose more gums. 
  • Too much gum tissue: during the phase of when permanent teeth are growing in, sometimes there can be an overgrowth of gum tissue that covers too much of the teeth. 

Dr. Bybee says if you got a gummy smile, you shouldn’t be concerned. Unless you are on medication & experience rapid gum overgrowth, then it is merely a personal preference of concern. However, if you do experience overgrowth due to medication, Dr. Bybee says it’s important to let your dentist know so it can be corrected right away.

Gummy smile treatments:

  • Always speak with your dentist first 
  • Consult with your dentist when having interest in correction 
  • Possible options: oral surgery, temporary devices 

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