‘Reverse Smiles’ and Options to Correct
What is a ‘Reverse Smile’?
Options to Correct a ‘Reverse Smile‘.
Have you heard the term, ‘Reverse Smile‘? What does that mean? What is a ‘reverse smile‘ and what are some options to correct this?
A reverse smile is simply a when the edges of the upper teeth follow along a reverse or inverted curve to the lower lip. This is like the smile line in the standard frowny face. In most smiles, the lower lip forms a curve that roughly follows the curve of the lower lip like the smile line in the traditional smiley face. The incisal edges or the bottom edges of the upper teeth follow more or less along this line when viewing the face from the front. This is true for both women and men. In a reverse smile, the edges of the teeth curve inversely or opposite to the curve of the lower lip.
In general, a smile seems more pleasing when the edges of the teeth follow the curve of the lower lip or at least follow along a straight line compared to the curve of the lower lip. Some of the edges of the upper teeth may be covered slightly by the lower lip depending on the bigness of the smile or the amount lip movement wen smiling. This is still very esthetic. Even from the side, the edges of the upper teeth will seem to follow the curve of the lower lip in what most consider to be a pleasing smile. When the front two teeth, the central incisors, seem shorter than the lateral incisors, which seem shorter than the tips of the upper canine teeth, the pleasing smile line is reversed. Hence the “Reverse Smile” as shown here.
In a typical “Reverse Smile” the back teeth or molars and premolars may seem to be mostly hidden by the lower lip. Gum tissue may be visible on the sides, but not on the front – which is generally thought to be less pleasing. The options to correct a “Reverse Smile” include the following:
- Correcting the positions of the teeth with orthodontics. This almost always involves significant treatment time but the results can be dramatic and life changing in terms of a person’s self-esteem.
- Jaw or orthognathic surgery, or
- A combination of periodontal and/or gum surgery combined with veneers or crowns to make the teeth appear longer where needed, shorter where needed, and to improve or even the display of gum tissue.
The last of these is the option shown here with all treatment completed in the Grand Junction, Colorado office of Dr. Julie Gillis. Dr. Gillis is an Accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and was the first dentist in Colorado to achieve this honor. Our patient did not like her smile and the way it ‘tilted up’ in the middle. She also didn’t like how her gums ‘looked like pink wings’ on either side of her smile. In our office it is important that we offer options and information so that our patient’s can make choices that are right for them. In this case we reviewed that we could complete esthetic re-contouring of the gums to decrease the display of gums and porcelain veneers to increase the length of the teeth.
Gum surgery – It is interesting that for every millimeter of gums removed an extra millimeter of tooth is displayed. So the cumulative effect is a 2 millimeter difference which in terms of teeth is HUGE! We started with the gum surgery and minor bone re-contouring and our patient wore temporary restorations as the tissue healed. The final restorations improved the smile by eliminating the “Reverse Smile”, lengthening the front teeth, and minimizing the display of gums.
Reverse Smiles do not have to be treated at all. They are, however, rarely esthetic and benefit from some dental treatment to minimize their effect on a person’s feelings about their smile. If you are not at all concerned about your ‘reverse smile’ it is best to do no treatment as the treatment is almost purely cosmetic. If you would like to hear treatment options to improve you smile, our office and Dr. Julie Gillis would be happy to help. We have been offering these types of treatment for years! For more information about Dr. Julie Gillis and the treatment options available in her office, please visit our website at www.juliegillisdds.com. Or, visit us on Facebook! We look forward to seeing you!