Many people think that the appearance of their smile is related mostly to the size and color of their teeth. However, the appearance of your smile also depends on the appearance of other tissue around the teeth, such as the lips and gums. Sometimes looking at this entire system is known as dentolabial analysis, because it looks not just at your teeth, but also at the lips and other tissues that frame your teeth.

This, of course, includes your gums. Attractive gums are an essential part of an attractive smile.

female with beautiful smile

What Determines a “Gummy Smile”?

We talk about a gummy smile when we think that our smile displays too much gums and too little of our teeth. In general, most of the smile should be made of the teeth, with only a small amount of gums showing. How much? People can decide for themselves how they feel about their own smile. Some studies show, however, that having more than about an eighth of an inch of gums showing can make people think their smile is “gummy.”

An Attractive Gingival Margin

The gingival margin is the point where the gums meet the teeth. This is where the gums do their framing of the teeth, so it’s important for smile aesthetics that this be properly configured. An attractive margin should be scalloped across the teeth.  However, the line of the gums isn’t exactly even. The margin on the central incisors (the two central teeth) should be higher than the margin on the lateral incisors (the next tooth on each side). However, the margin should be about the same height on the canines (the sharp teeth next to the laterals).

The Problem with Receding Gums

Your gums should not just have symmetric margins, these margins should completely obscure the tooth roots. While the crowns of the teeth are made of smooth, attractive, white enamel, the roots are made of cementum, which is darker and rougher.

Receding gums are considered unattractive partly because they expose the roots, which look much less attractive than the crown. In addition, gum recession is rarely even, exposing one or several teeth more than the others.

In addition, unhealthy receding gums are often an unattractive color. They may also be swollen, which can make them visibly unhealthy, and that’s never attractive.

Achieving an Attractive Gingival Margin

For a long time, cosmetic dentists have helped people deal with gummy smiles by offering veneers that can lengthen teeth, or gum contouring that cuts gums back. However, people with receding gums have had limited options.

However, with gum rejuvenation, people can restore receding gums to help their smile look more attractive.

If you are unhappy with the appearance of receding gums, please call (949) 551-5902 today for an appointment at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.