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?"
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Corrective Jaw Surgery
For cases of moderate to severe jaw protrusion, you may need orthognathic surgery combined with orthodontics.
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.