Can you see a lot of your gums when you smile? If so, you aren’t alone. Smiles come in all shapes and sizes and for some people, showing lots of pink, fleshy gum is the norm. However, many of these individuals are less than happy with the way that their smile looks. This is because when there is a lot of gum tissue on display, it can cause the teeth to appear undersized or disproportionate to the size of your mouth.

Although a gummy smile is rarely something that is bad for your oral health, it can give you sufficient enough concern about its appearance to warrant undergoing treatment to change your situation. Crown lengthening is the name of the cosmetic dentistry treatment that can reduce the amount of gum tissue you display when you show your teeth. Although it is normally performed for cosmetic reasons, crown lengthening can also be recommended where there is not enough visible tooth to support a restorative crown or filling.


Why do I have a gummy smile?

There can be many reasons why someone might have excess gum tissue. For some patients, their smile is a genetic trait and their parents or grandparents experience the same issue. However, in some instances, teeth may appear gummy due to inflammation caused by gum disease. If gum disease is the cause of your inflamed gum tissue, treating the problem will likely reduce the amount of gum that shows when you smile. Healthy gums are essential for good oral and general health, and to retain your natural teeth for as long as possible.


What is crown lengthening?

Crown lengthening is a fairly straightforward dental procedure that is usually carried out under just a local anesthetic. If you suffer from dental anxiety, it may be possible for you to have some sedation to relax you.


Once you are suitably anesthetized, incisions will be made into the gums so that they can be pulled away from the teeth to expose the tooth roots and jawbone. Some of the excess gum tissue can then be cut away so that more of the teeth are visible. However, in some instances it may also be necessary to also remove some bone from around the roots of your teeth too.


After your dentist is satisfied with the appearance of your gum line, the area will be cleaned with sterile saltwater to rinse away any bacteria or debris and the gums stitched to close them.


Unsurprisingly, since crown lengthening is a surgical procedure, it is completely normal to experience some soreness and swelling of the gums over the days following your procedure. Over the counter pain relief should help you to manage your discomfort, whilst you will also be given specific aftercare advice relating to what to eat, drink and how to take care of your gums whilst they heal. A diet of soft food is recommended, both for your comfort and to prevent you from accidentally damaging your sutures.


A little bleeding from the gums is to be expected, and your teeth might also feel sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks. Any bleeding may get worse if you exercise or take part in other intense activity, so this should be avoided for up to a week. You will also need to take special care not to disturb your sutures when brushing your teeth. Your dental team will be on hand to answer any questions that you may have during the healing process.  




If you would like more information about dental crown lengthening, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices where our expert dental team would be happy to help you.