Gummy Smile

Gummy Smiles

Many patients seeking a cosmetic improvement to their smile have little or nothing wrong with their teeth. Their concerns are their gums appearing too visible, or simply too big, when they smile.

“Gummy” smiles are a common problem, caused by overgrowth of the gum tissue that then covers the teeth. This can be caused by a variety of things, including heredity (from your family) health conditions, and even the use of some common high blood pressure medications.

These reasons can cause a smile to look crooked or lop-sided, or make the teeth seem almost smaller than the gums. Such problems can be easily corrected with a simple procedure known as a cosmetic gum lifting or contouring.


A local anaesthetic is applied to the gums, and a laser or a blade is used to trim away the small amounts of excess gum tissue and reshape the edges of the gums above the six front teeth that form the smile. Of course, there are times when reshaping the tissue alone is not enough. In those circumstances the bone at the front of the root of the teeth may have to be reduced. This is done because the gum edges need to be about three millimetres from the edge of the bone. If you don’t reduce the bone, the tissue will grow back. This procedure, while more complicated than a simple gum lift, is still relatively comfortable when done properly.

Causes of gummy smile

Excess gum tissue covering the teeth
Having worn-down teeth
Having a high lip line
Hyperactive lip elevator muscle
Certain genetic conditions affecting the jaw
Altered passive eruption

If your teeth are very worn-down or naturally short, your dentist may recommend dental veneers. These could be made of porcelain or a composite, tooth-coloured material, and will restore your teeth to their natural length.

To discuss the best options to cure your gummy smile, you should speak to your dentist today.


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