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A member asked:

do gummy smiles have to have surgery to fix them? i have a gummy smile that i don't love, but i'm mostly okay with it. are there any health or dental reasons that i should get it fixed?

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Theodore Davantzis
Dentistry 40 years experience
If : If you mean your teeth appear to be small due to an excess of gum tissue at the neck of the tooth, then a minor surgical recontouring of that tissue will help reduce that "gummy" look. From a health standpoint, as long as you keep your teeth and gums clean, there is no reason you need to do any surgery if you are happy with your appearance.
Dr. Ryan Tamburrino
Specializes in Orthodontics
There : There are 4 reasons that you could have a "gummy" smile and all four have different solutions. 1. Excess gum tissue - the teeth look "short" as well because the gums have grown over the teeth. Removal of the gum tissue will not only improve esthetics but also facilitate better hygiene since food will not get trapped as easily. This is both an esthetic and hygienic issue. 2. Hyperactive muscles - your muscles work overtime when you smile and elevate your upper lip excessively. Treatment may involve muscle relaxants, such as botox, to help control this issue. This is an esthetic, not functional, issue in terms of overall health of the system. 3. Over-erupted teeth - if the teeth have come down or over-erupted excessively, orthodontically moving them upwards and back to their correct position will also reduce the gum tissue that shows. This can be an esthetic and functional problem depending on how your other teeth and jaws function. 4. Excess upper jaw vertical dimension - the entire jaw may need to be repositioned by an oral surgeon to fix this issue. This can be a combination of an esthetic and functional problem depending on the rest of your bite. This is not an easy answer 1 solution to give because a proper diagnosis to the reason you have a gummy smile has not been determined yet. Some people also present with a combination of reasons for the gummy smile (i.e. Excess tissue + excess jaw dimension) and require several specialties to help with the correction. Your best bet would be to have a consultation with an orthodontist or your family dentist to talk about the different options and see what would work best for you. As far as health or dental consequences of not getting it fixed, it totally depends on the underlying condition causing the gummy smile, as each is different. This is also a conversation to have with whomever you decide to seek for help with this issue.
Dr. Otto Placik
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
Although : Although permanent correction may require surgery, the use of botulinum toxin can partially correct this problem by injecting the levator labii alaeque nasii.

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Fort Smith, AR
A 44-year-old female asked:

Will it be harder to put me under for surgery if I am difficult to numb for dental work etc? I'm terrified of feeling surgery even though its rare

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alvaro Lazo
Dentistry 24 years experience
No: Usually patients that are hard to numb is because their nerves run a little different than the ones on the majority of the people. When you are put under gas or IV drugs will be used in addition to the regular anesthetics.
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Where does the IV usually go for a wisdom tooth operation?

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Dr. Kyle Shank
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Arm or hand: Most commonly the IV goes in the arm (opposite the elbow) or in the back of the hand. There are situations where those vessels aren't readily accessible, in which case i've seen iv's started elsewhere, but the arm/hand is most common.
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If wisdom tooth clot falls out soon after surgery will it reform?

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Dr. Joseph Ilacqua
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 47 years experience
Clot will not reform: The clot usually will not reform. If there is increased throbbing pain then you may have a condition call a dry socket. This needs to have medication placed into the socket to relieve the throbbing pain. If there is no significant increased pain then no treatment is needed. The socket will still heal.
A 46-year-old member asked:

What are the health benefits of a wisdom tooth operation?

2 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. John DeWolf
Dentistry 40 years experience
Depends: Each case is different but if you are having issues related to problematic wisdom teeth, the benefit of removing them is obviously the elimination of those issues. Sometimes the rationale is more preemptive with the intent to take advantage of youthful tooth or bone characteristics to make the procedure easier to go through while eliminating risk factors that may cause trouble later.
A 44-year-old member asked:

What type of sedation is given before dental surgeries?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Bassman
Dentistry 45 years experience
Varies: Sometime the dentist will have sedation with oral meds or even nitrous oxide (laughing gas,) that lightly puts you into relaxed state, but will not put you out completely, with supported breathing, etc. In the hospital and many oral surgery offices, they may use different types of IV sedation that put you asleep with assisted breathing. Ask a lot of questions

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Last updated Oct 4, 2016

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