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Gummy Smile: Causes and Treatment

Gummy Smile: Causes and Treatment

by Azka Munir · April 8, 2021

A bright unhindered smile can not only make you happy but also the people around you. However, you may not smile brightly because of the appearance of your smile. One such reason why people do not smile to their fullest is a Gummy Smile.

If your gums show too much then your smile does not look as aesthetic. Though you can always treat it.  This article discusses Gummy Smile, its causes, and its treatment. Keep reading to know how you can correct your Gummy Smile.


What is a Gummy Smile?

A Gummy smile is when one can see a lot of gum tissue when you smile.

This is medically termed as an excessive gingival display.

Hence, whenever you smile, a lot of your gum shows with your teeth.

Some people do like their gummy smiles while others may not.

mother's gummy smile

It is a matter of personal aesthetics and choice however, a larger number of people may not like their gummy smiles.

Though about 10 percent of people between the ages of 20 to 30 consider they have a gummy smile.

Moreover, women seem to have more issues with their gumline showing than men.

However, a gummy smile is all about your perception.

There is no set definition or measurement.

You may think your smile is gummy even if not much of your gum line shows through your smile.

Excessive gum tissue usually shows when the proportion of your gum, upper jaw and upper teeth isn’t harmonious.

Hence, something that affects your gummy smile is the height and shape of your teeth, if they are small more gumline may show.

Also, the amount of gum tissue that is visible during smiling.

Another reason is the movement of your lips especially the hyperactive upper lip and its length.

The position and angle of the upper jaw relating to the skull and teeth also affect your smile.

On a general basis, anyone who has been about 3 to 4 millimeters of gum line showing when they smile is considered to have a gummy smile.

The ideal smile for people is one that reveals the least amount of gum tissue.

However, it is again dependent on perception and if you think that a smile even with a little bit of gum line makes you unattractive.

Thought the visible gum line should have even contours with the upper lip and be harmonious with it.


Causes of a Gummy Smile

If you are uncomfortable with your smile you do not need to fret about it.

Gummy smile correction is pretty much possible.

However, you will have to figure out the underlying causes to find out why you have a gummy smile in the first place.

gummy smile causes

Issues with Teeth Growth

Your adult teeth grow after your milk teeth fall.

Hence, the way your adult teeth grow can be an abnormal eruption.

The way your teeth erupt can also be a family trait and may pass onto your generations as well.

This happens when the gum covers more of the teeth surface and your teeth look smaller and shorter. However, they may still be the right length.

This condition is known as altered passive eruption.

Moreover, if the teeth have over erupted or grown farther then the gum tissue will grow further too.

child with teeth growth issues

Problems with Upper Jaw

The upper jaw bone may also develop longer than the ideal length which is known as vertical maxillary excess.

The manner of the development and growth of the upper jaw results and an excessive bulging and protrusion of the upper jaw within the gum tissue can cause a gummy smile.

Lips Movement and Position

Your lips can be hypermobile. This is due to the muscles in your upper lip which may be very active.

This muscle controls the upper lip movement and when it is very active it can make your upper lip go higher especially when you smile and show lots of gum tissue even if your teeth are proportionate.

Gum tissue may also show up when your lips are smaller.


Additionally, some medicines may result in an overgrowth of gum tissue around your teeth.

These include medicines that control high blood pressure, those that control the immune system and the ones that can control seizures.

This needs timely treatment as excessive growth of gum tissue can cause periodontal disease and is unhealthy for your body.

Which brings us to…


Gummy Smile Treatment

If you do have excessive gums around your teeth and are vary of too much gums showing when yous smile then there is a solution for it.

Visit your dentist so that they can examine your smile and your teeth properly.

They will identify the cause of your gummy smile and proceed accordingly.

woman getting dental treatment

Your dentist will determine the extent of the excessive gingival display.

They will take digital impressions of your teeth as well as your gum and use a Dental X-ray to examine the roots and jaw bone thoroughly.

Next, they may refer you to a periodontist, oral surgeon, or orthodontist depending on the reason behind your excess gingival display.

It can be both an orthodontic treatment and a prosthodontic treatment.

There are several treatments for gummy smile correction.

These treatment option include:

Gingivectomy/Gum Contouring

This Oral Surgery is performed when a lot of gum tissue covers the teeth surface.

It removes the extra gum tissue in your teeth and reveals the teeth underneath them.

A periodontist or an oral surgeon can perform this surgery.

In this surgery, your oral surgeon begins by giving you a local anesthetic to numb the area so that you do not feel any pain.

They will trim and reshape your gums with the help of a scalpel or laser to show the surface of the crown of the teeth.

You may require more than one treatment and after it, your gums will swell and may bleed for at least a week.

Otherwise, this treatment can give long-lasting results which are near to permanent.

This may seem like a crown lengthening treatment but actually, they scrap the gum tissue of the teeth’ surface.

Orthognathic Surgery

This surgery helps to balance the upper and lower jaw length if that is the reason behind your Gummy Smile.

However, this treatment requires a lot of planning.

An oral surgeon and a maxillofacial surgeon will look after the surgery and you will undergo tests to find out the position of the jaw and how far it has gone.

It is also possible that they may recommend you get braces or Invisalign to align the teeth and arches.

Next, in the surgery, they will give you general anesthesia.

They begin by removing a piece of bone from your upper jaw to balance its length with the lower jaw.

They will reattach the jaw bone with screws and plates.

Healing will take between six and twelve weeks as this is an extensive surgery.

You may also stay hospitalized for a few days and wear elastics to hold the jaw firmly in position.

woman getting botox treatment


Does it seem out of place? Not at all!

Botox can also cure your gummy smile by injecting it into the lips elevator muscles.

Botox can help reduce the movement and hyperactivity of the elevator muscles which shows more gum when you smile.

This procedure is less invasive and cheaper than surgery.

However, you may have to get Botox injections time and again when their effect wears out as it is not a permanent solution.

A slight risk persists of excessive Botox which can distort your smile overall.

Lip Repositioning

Your lip movement and shape may also make your gummy smile more apparent.

Hence a lip repositioning surgery can alter the position of your lips in alignment with your teeth.

The dentists give you local anesthesia and make the treatment site numb.

Connective tissue is removed from the underside of your upper lip.

They then stitch the incisions and this surgery prevents the elevator muscles in the lips to lift your upper lip high enough.

This procedure takes about an hour and you will recover within a week.

It is a permanent solution but there are chances of a relapse.

TAD’s for Those Who Don’t Want Surgery

If you do not want to undergo surgery then you can get Temporary Anchorage Devices to pull your teeth in the correct position.

These are tiny screws implanted in your mouth.

Your dentist will numb the area using a local anesthetic and insert these screws into your bone.

They are cheaper and less invasive than surgery but their use is dependent on the cause of your gummy smile.

Hyaluronic Acid Fillers

While Dermal Fillers are used for beauty, smile lines and skin treatments, they are also useful to correct a gummy smile.

Hyaluronic Acid Fillers can restrict your hypermobile muscle fibers in your lips.

However, this is not a permanent solution.

They can last up to 8 months and you will have to get another treatment after that.

Though it also has its risks.

Fillers can damage your blood supply which can cause a stroke.

Moreover, there is a chance of the body’s immunity reacting to the hyaluronic acid.

Though it is a much cheaper option and less invasive.


A Gummy Smile can lower your self-esteem and hinder you from smiling beautifully.

However, you may ask yourself is a gummy smile attractive? After all, it’s all about perception.

As long as you think it looks fine, then you do not have to conform to society’s view.

Getting treatments only for aesthetic appeal is not preferred but is fine as long as it affects you greatly.

It is best that you correct it if you don’t find it attractive.

However, a few causes of a gummy smile may also interfere with your bite and this can lead to other oral health problems.

Hence, the problem here is not solely related to appearance.

If treating it improves your bite and promotes oral health then do not think twice!

Also, your views on your appearance matter.

Therefore, it is best to treat your Gummy smile timely if you are not satisfied with how it looks and makes you feel.

There is nothing better than gaining confidence in how you look and feel about yourself.

Choose wisely and smile brightly to your heart’s content.

If you found this article useful do let us know in the comments!


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