Altered Passive Eruption (Gummy Smile)
I blogged about what people perceive as an ideal smile, and how a gummy smile can detract from the perceived attractiveness of a smile. Several factors can contribute to the clinical characteristics of a gummy smile. These include gingival overgrowth, altered passive eruption, short clinical crowns, vertical maxillary excess, short upper lip, and hyper mobile upper lip. Usually, a combination of these factors are to blame for a gummy smile. The current patient presented with a gummy smile that is caused by altered passive eruption. In simple terms, altered passive eruption is when there is too much soft tissue covering the upper teeth. This causes the upper teeth to appear shorter and square in shape. The central incisors should have a width to length ratio of approximately 75% to 80%. Reports show that about 10% of the population are affected by this condition, and a higher prevalence in women from age 20 to 30 years. I treated the current patient with an esthetic crown lengthening procedure to excise soft tissue and alveolar bone. After 6 weeks of healing the patient presented with a smile that is very attractive and she was extremely pleased. This procedure is minimally invasive, post surgical complications and perceived pain is insignificant.