Teeth come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some people have a full smile with longer and wider teeth filling up their smile corridor. And many people have short and narrow teeth also. Functionally, all shapes and forms of teeth can be very healthy and not related to any dental problems. Cosmetically, people with smaller teeth may desire to close the spaces around their teeth or make their teeth longer so that they don’t look edentulous (toothless).
Why do some teeth look short? There are a couple of reasons that teeth can look short. One of the reasons is grinding. That is correct. Grinding and clenching can wear down teeth in height, length and width. Teeth can be worn down to less than half of their original length. The combination of grinding teeth with consuming acidic beverages increases the loss of tooth structure. As a result, when someone with a worn down dentition smiles, the spacing between upper and lower front teeth is pronounced. It may appear that he/she has no front teeth.
Another reason that teeth can look short, is the gums. Gums can be naturally thickened, covering a portion of teeth known as the cervical area. When gums cover a portion of the tooth, there is less white tooth structure that shows above the gumline, leading to the appearance of short teeth. It is important to have gums/gingiva evaluated for gingivitis (inflammation) to make sure the appearance of a gummy smile is due to natural anatomy and not due to a periodontal problem.
There are procedures that can fill up the smile corridor or make teeth appear longer if desired. White tooth colored porcelain crowns or dental composites, can lengthen teeth that have been worn down due to grinding and clenching. A laser can be used to perform a minor gingivectomy, or shortening of gum tissue to push gums back and reveal more white tooth structure.
If you would like fuller teeth, schedule a dental consultation with our office. We proudly serve patients from Keller, Arlington, and Fort Worth Areas. Museum Smiles Dentistry is located within a few minutes of Downtown Fort Worth, and we can discuss any goals that you have for your smile.