Coping with Chronic Health Conditions: Tips

Coping with Chronic Health Conditions: Tips

Child Has A Gummy Smile? Why It Won't Just Go Away Without Treatment

by Freddie Cox

If you're hoping and waiting for your child's gummy smile to go away on its own, you could be making a mistake. A gummy smile can get worse over time and eventually affect your child's overall health in the future. So before you just wait it out and hope for the best, learn more about gummy smiles and what happens if you don't seek treatment for your little one now.

What Is a Gummy Smile or Gingival Display?

When gum tissue covers over 2 millimeters of your child's teeth crowns, the dentist calls this condition gummy smile or gingival display. Your child shows more gum tissue than teeth crowns when he or she smiles. The upper lip also pulls back further into the face as your child smiles and makes the gums look even larger. If you don't seek treatment for your child, he or she can develop a number of problems with the appearance of his or her teeth.

Depending on the severity of your child's gummy smile, his or her teeth crowns can become short and square-shaped over time, or they can eventually change to triangular or pointy. Sometimes, the upper and lower teeth become crooked, crowded or both, which makes chewing and biting food painful and difficult.

The problems above develop because your child has an underlying issue that affects the growth and health of his or her jaws.

How Does a Gummy Smile Develop?

Excessive gum growth develops from a number of things, teeth grinding or bruxism. When your child grinds his or her teeth at night, the action breaks down the surfaces of his or her teeth until they appear short and square-shaped. The gums may look bigger because your child's teeth are no longer the correct size. 

In addition, bruxism places force on the upper and lower jaws as your child's teeth move back and forth over each other. Since your child's jawbones are still growing and soft, the bone tissues push together and grow thicker than they would if your child didn't grind his or her teeth.

There are things your child may do that affects his or her gums and jaws. These include:

  • Thumbsucking — This unhealthy habit pushes out the upper jawbone and roof of the mouth until they grow outward. The gums look larger because the jawbone is thicker beneath them.
  • Chewing on hard things — Chewing or gnawing on hard candy, pencils or other similar objects can wear down your child's teeth crowns and make the gums look longer. Additionally, your child's teeth can become triangular or pointy if he or she chews on hard objects.
  • Breathing through the mouth — Mouthbreathing affects the growth of the upper and lower jawbones by making them appear narrow and thin. The gums may grow longer over each row of teeth to keep up with the growth.

If your child does any of the things above, he or she needs to see a pediatric dentist for an evaluation. In most cases, the dentist will implement treatments that stop or control the underlying problem. The treatment depends on your child's age but if he or she is over age 7, the dentist may use orthodontic treatments, such as orthodontic bands, to correct the jawbones and excessive gum growth. If your child is younger than age 7, the dentist may monitor your little one's oral health until he or she is old enough for orthodontic care.

What Happens If Your Child Doesn't See a Dentist?

A gummy smile may cause numerous problems, such as gum disease and tooth decay, if it's not treated properly by a pediatric dentist. If your child is young, the problem may not affect him or her right away. But as your child ages, the gummy smile may affect his or her self-esteem and confidence in school or during playtime with friends and family.

If you need to bring your child in for a dental evaluation of his or her gummy smile, contact your pediatric dentist at a site like for an appointment today. Remember, a gummy smile doesn't just go away. It can get worse instead.


About Me

Coping with Chronic Health Conditions: Tips

Ever since I was a young girl, I have had bad asthma and allergies. I had to stay in the hospital several times when I was in elementary school just to help get my asthma under control and it seemed like I was trying medication after medication with little success. I don't remember all of my childhood health details, since I was so young, but my mother has "filled in the blanks" for me. Thanks to modern medicine and a natural remedy, my health conditions are currently under control and have been for a few years now. I am very grateful for my good health, and I want to "pay it back" to others by creating a blog where I will post my health tips. I hope I can help you learn how to achieve good health!