“The Long Tooth Smile”

Although I treat a lot of gummy smiles (a condition in which the teeth may appear too short due to a high lip line and excess gum tissue) I also treat a “long tooth smile.” This condition can be caused by a number of factors, including aging, gingival problems, or gum recession. A long tooth smile is more than just an aesthetic issue; in fact, it can also cause the teeth to be more sensitive to hot and cold, prone to root caries, and may eventually result in tooth loss.

Gum Grafting

Different types of cosmetic gum surgery may be used to correct this problem. One treatment I commonly use is a gum grafting procedure. With a gum graft, I am able to use existing tissue from somewhere such as the roof of the mouth to reinforce the gum line where recession has occurred. Sometimes I may supplement a human tissue derivative such as AlloDerm® for the grafting procedure. The surgery requires only local anesthetic and can be performed on one or many teeth.


Most people recover from a gum graft fairly quickly – usually within a short period of time. Once the gum tissue has healed, your smile will look noticeably improved with less of the tooth’s roots exposed and more normal gum coverage. Many people who have had this procedure say they feel more confident and smile more frequently after treatment.

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