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gummy smile

Gummy Smile

Too much gum tissue can make your teeth look shorter than they are, causing your smile to look unbalanced

Many patients do not know there are treatments available for their gummy smiles, including gum contouring and BOTOX® Cosmetic.

How do I know if my smile is "gummy?"

gummy smile

Effects of a Gummy Smile

Teeth that Look Short

If you have noticed your teeth look small or short, the problem may not be your teeth, but rather gums that sit too low.

Too Much of Your Gums Show when Smiling

For some people, smiling reveals a large portion of their gums, drawing attention away from otherwise healthy, beautiful teeth.

gummy smile comparison

Your Genes Have a Lot to Do with the Look of Your Smile

Many of the conditions that lead to a gummy smile are hereditary. If a close family member has a gummy smile, there is a much higher chance that you will as well. 

Gummy smiles also tend to be more prevalent in women than in men.

A Range of Factors Can Result in a Gummy Smile

Too Much Gum Tissue

Some of us simply have more gum tissue than others. In some cases, teeth appear short because they did not fully erupt from the gums and are still partially covered by gum tissue. Gums can also grow over teeth due to a condition called gingival hypertrophy.

Worn or Short Teeth

Your teeth may appear small in comparison with your gums if they have been worn down or are naturally shorter than average.

A Short or Hyperactive Upper Lip

If your upper lip is too short, it can reveal more of your gums when you smile. In other cases, the upper lip is a normal length, but lifts too high when smiling.

Jaw Problems

An overgrowth in the upper jaw, known as vertical maxillary excess, can make your gums bulge and upset the proportions of your smile.

A Gummy Smile Is More Common among Young People

*According to a study by Jerbi Mohamed Ali and Dallel Ines

Excessive gum tissue tends to decrease with age. 

Your Doctor Can Assess Your Smile

If you are concerned about how much gum tissue shows when you smile, your dentist can perform an examination and explain your treatment options. During the appointment, he or she will assess your teeth, gums, and jaw to figure out the cause. You may also need impressions and x-rays. 

Most of the Causes of a Gummy Smile Are Hereditary

Unfortunately, when a gummy smile is caused by genetics, there are no reliable methods of prevention. However, by visiting a dentist on a regular basis, you can address teeth grinding and other issues that can eventually contribute to a gummy smile.

Dentists Say Showing Three Millimeters of Gum Tissue or Less Is Normal

“Anything over three to four millimeters of gum showing starts to look ‘gummy.’” Dr. Stan Heifetz on the ideal smile

The Best Treatment Option for You Depends on the Cause of Your Gummy Smile

One of the most common treatments for patients who have a mildly gummy smile is laser gum contouring. Your doctor can use a soft-tissue laser to remove gum tissue, improving the proportions between your teeth and gums.

A Wide Variety of Solutions

Lip Repositioning Surgery

When combined with orthodontic treatment, lip repositioning can be a good alternative to jaw surgery.

Orthodontics

If your gummy smile is due to mild issues with your jaws or bite, an orthodontic treatment can shift the position of your teeth to reduce the amount of gum tissue that shows when you smile.

Porcelain Veneers or Crowns

Placing a restoration, such as a veneer or crown, can make worn or short teeth appear longer and balance the proportions of your smile.

Corrective Jaw Surgery

For cases of moderate to severe jaw protrusion, you may need orthognathic surgery combined with orthodontics.

BOTOX Cosmetic

Doctors can now use BOTOX Cosmetic to limit the movement of your upper lip when you smile. While temporary, it can provide beautiful results at an affordable price.

Contact a Doctor Today

If you dislike the gummy look of your smile, a range of treatments exist to give you a more balanced, symmetrical appearance. Reach out to a doctor today to learn more about your options.

New Jersey Dental Centers logo

New Jersey Dental Centers

Our dentists and team of qualified professionals want every patient to love their smile. They are members of trusted dental organizations, including:

  • American Dental Association
  • New Jersey Dental Association
  • International Congress of Oral Implantologists
  • Academy of General Dentistry

Our dental care is affordable, and we offer flexible financing options to help you pay for treatment. To schedule a consultation at one of our 14 locations, call or contact us online.

Contact Us Today

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