The components of a smile
A smile consists of three basic components: Lips, gums, and teeth.
It is, however, necessary that these three components are in harmony with each other to produce a beautiful smile. If the size of the teeth are abnormal, or if too much gum shows, then the smile will appear asymmetrical and therefore unaesthtetic.
There are various cosmetic gum procedures which are performed routinely by periodontists. These include the following:
- Gummy Smile treatment: People who display an excessive amount of gum when smiling are classified as having a 'gummy smile'. Such patients are often shy to smile or laugh and often 'posture' their top lips so as not to reveal the teeth and gums when smiling. This is often due to part of the tooth being covered by gum giving the tooth a square appearence. By removing the part of the gum covering the tooth, the natural dimensions of the teeth are exposed. The change in the smile can be dramatic and enhances the facial aesthetics of the patient. Sometimes, though, there may be an excessive vertical growth component of the upper jaw which requires surgical intervention by a Maxillo, Facial and Oral Surgeon.
- Gum indentations or deficiencies: Such deficiencies may be as a result of a previous tooth extraction and may require build up before a bridge placement or implant thareapy.
- Routine crown lengthening procedures (Click on News Flashes for more info): Asymmetrical appearing gums can be contoured to create a level gum line before new crowns are made. Short teeth may also be lengthened to create enough space for new crowns.
- Gum overgrowth as a result of certain medications: Certain medications can produce gum overgrowth (hyperplasia) which can appear extremely unaesthetic. These include medications taken for epilepsy (Dilantin), blood pressure tablets of the calcuim channel blocker group, and Cyclosporin (used to inhibit the immune system after organ transplant procedures).
- Gum recessions: Continous hard toothbrushing over many years may result in gum recession. These areas of recession can be treated with gum grafts in order to cover the exposed neck of the tooth which may have become unsightly for the patient.