Q. My daughter recently had her braces taken off. Her teeth are straight, but we were both a little disappointed with the “gummy” smile she has. Is this a result of a bad orthodontist, or is there something that can be done?
A. A “gummy” smile is something we see often and not just after braces are taken off. Often times we see it in people in their 30s and 40s. On some people, the gingival (the gums) are very low, leaving not much tooth showing. It does not mean the braces were done wrong at all; some people just have more gum than teeth showing. In most cases, a simple procedure called a gingivectomy, which can usually be done in 30 minutes, will result in more tooth being shown. This procedure can be done very simply with just a normal, small amount of local anesthesia. The recovery is very minimal, and usually there is no need for pain medication. The best part is that the results are immediate. Most general dentists do it routinely, or you can go to a gum specialist called a periodontist. We are fortunate in the Chattanooga area to have many great orthodontists who do amazing work.
Mark Mcomie, D.M.D.
Mcomie Family Dentistry
5999 Shallowford Road
Chattanooga, TN 37421