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Overgrown Gums May Be More than a Cosmetic Issue

The term “gummy smile” is often used to describe a mouth in which excess gum tissue makes the teeth appear short and stubby. Without a doubt, this issue could make anyone feel self-conscious. As problematic as the aesthetic aspect of a gummy smile can be, however, it may also affect a person’s oral health and overall well-being. Let’s talk about some of the most serious consequences of a gummy smile and what you may be able to do about it.

Redness, Swelling, and Bleeding

Overgrown gum tissue can easily become red and inflamed, especially if gum disease is the reason for the excess tissue. (It is commonly believed that gum recession, and not gum overgrowth, can result from gum disease. However, both issues are a possibility. Gum recession may even occur after gum overgrowth.) The redness and swelling may cause significant discomfort, and the gums may bleed easily when you brush and floss.

Trapping Bacteria

Extra gum tissue, especially when it is due to gum disease or other serious health conditions, is prone to trap bacteria, tartar, and food particles beneath it. This may be true even for individuals who have excellent oral hygiene habits. The trapped bacteria can contribute to swelling and inflammation. It may also accelerate tooth decay and lead to the need for extensive tooth repair, or perhaps even tooth extractions.

Total Tooth Coverage

Some individuals suffer from a rare condition known as gingival fibromatosis, which causes the gums to grow so much that they may cover the teeth completely. As you can well imagine, this may look quite unattractive, and it may affect the function of the teeth.

What You Can Do

Not all cases of overgrown gums are a cause for concern. If your genetics have simply bestowed you with gums that are larger than usual, the only real problem with them may be related to aesthetics. However, it is still worth your time to visit a periodontist. They will examine your gums and learn about your overall health to determine the most likely cause of your overgrown gums. Then, they can recommend a course of action.

If gum disease is to blame, you may need periodontal therapy to manage the infection and restore your gum health. However, if the issue is purely cosmetic, the best course of action might be a simple gum recontouring procedure, wherein a soft tissue laser is used to trim away the extra gum tissue and reveal a more even gumline and a more proportionate smile.

Are you wondering if your gummy smile is a serious problem? A consultation with your local periodontist can help you determine what is causing the issue and what you can do about it.

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