How to fix a gummy smile: Causes and Treatments

Do you know that based on a report released by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and Wakefield research, it is estimated that almost one-third of American adults are unhappy about their smile?

There can be various reasons that you might also be unhappy with your smile. Some prominent reasons may include smaller teeth, crooked or chipped teeth, or teeth gaps.

Here’s another one of the most common concerns about the smile. If you feel that your gums are overexposed while you are laughing or speaking, you might have a problem known as the “gummy smile.”

A gummy smile can occur due to several reasons. Don’t worry. Smile by Design has several gummy smile treatment options to help resolve the condition temporarily or permanently. Let’s delve into learning more about the issue and its treatment options.

Women smiling

What is a gummy smile?

A gummy smile (Excessive Gingival Display) happens when a greater quantity of gum tissue appears above the upper teeth while smiling. The perception of a gummy smile may be evaluated visually, but it is also marked when more than 4 millimetres of visible gum tissue is exposed.

However, even if you are experiencing a gummy smile, you must know that this does not mean your smile is less appealing. But the eyes may perceive them as less symmetrical or more asymmetrical. Moreover, individuals with gummy smiles could endure pain in rare cases though.

To know how to fix a gummy smile, you must visit a dentist. At Smile by Design, our professionals will take you through simple steps and X-rays to determine the problem. Based on your reports, and your oral and physical health condition, we will offer you the best gummy smile treatment option to resolve your issue.

What are the general causes of a gummy smile?

There are several reasons which can cause a gummy smile. These might include difficulty with jaw growth, irregular tooth eruptions, an incorrect bite, a hyperactive upper lip, and muscular problems, among others. It would help to determine the cause of your gummy smile before you look out for a gummy smile fix because you must first find out the root problem.

Here are some of the most prominent reasons you may have a gummy smile.

  1. Abnormal Tooth eruption – Your teeth can be small, which you might have inherited or worn over time. In such cases, your top jaw will strive to retain the correct bite by emerging further down, or in some instances, the teeth may have spontaneously erupted further down.Another common issue might happen where your upper teeth erupt further in proportion to the lower teeth than the normal levels. Instead of touching each other, they move past each other, causing problems for the person.Under such situations, your gum might end up moving downward along with the teeth and cause your gum to expose more than expected. As a result, it can make your teeth appear shorter than the gums, giving rise to a gummy smile.
  2. Presence of excessive gum tissues – Several factors like breathing difficulties, certain drugs, or poor dental hygiene might contribute to gum health. Consequently, it may grow too far over the teeth, hiding your teeth behind excessive gum tissues.
  3. Concern with jaw development – One of the most common causes for your gummy smile issue is that your upper jaw is more protruding than its actual length. In such cases, the gum tissues become visible, giving rise to a gummy smile.
  4. Hyperactive lip – A hyperactive or hypermobile lip problem might occur when the muscles around the lips are too strong. As a result, your lip pulls up, exposing the gums more than usual while smiling. Usually, the lip shifts 6-8 mm from its original position; however, the hyperactive lips move more than this.Another lip problem includes the lips being too short and exposing too much gum even if the teeth size and jaw are standard.
  5. Gum Hypertrophy – Enlargement of gum or gum hypertrophy is an issue that might occur due to several reasons like puberty, pregnancy, or hormonal changes. Certain gum tumors or other medications might trigger this problem and give rise to excess gum tissues.

How to get rid of a gummy smile?

Several gummy smile treatment options are available, but only an experienced dentist can guide you in the best possible way.

At Smile by Design, you can consult with our dentist Dr. Tam and choose the best gummy smile treatment option based on the diagnosis. Based on the underlying reason for your gummy smile, we can help you choose the most effective treatment.

Generally, there are two approaches to resolving the condition: surgical and non-surgical.

How to get rid of a gummy smile with a Non-surgical approach

If you wonder how to smile without showing gums, here’s your answer.

Not everyone wants surgery when it comes to finding a gummy smile fix. So, let’s begin with non-surgical treatment choices. We at Smile by Design will help evaluate all available treatment options based on your condition and potential needs and pick the most effective option for you.

Let’s look at how to fix a gummy smile using a non-surgical alternative.

  1. Orthodontic treatment process– If you are sure you have a gummy smile due to an orthodontic condition, such as a poor bite, or a jaw problem, you may fix it by opting for orthodontic treatments. For instance, braces can help align your tooth.In addition to correcting a gummy smile, orthodontic treatments often address more significant underlying concerns, such as teeth misalignment and jaw abnormalities. When the teeth migrate into their proper place, the gums give you a symmetrical and beautiful smile.

    Orthodontic issues may be uncomfortable and lead to significant health issues over time. But the good news is if you choose to undergo these procedures, your gums will appear smaller, and your smile will be more proportional.

    However, in some cases, orthodontic treatment alone might not resolve a gummy smile. You might also need to undergo other necessary treatment options to achieve the desired outcome.

  2. Veneers and crowns– Want to know how to fix a gummy smile with veneers and crowns? Your teeth may be too small, making your smile appear ‘gummy.’ Some possible causes of small teeth include heredity or wear and tear. Veneers and crowns are cosmetic dental treatments that allow you to customize your smile according to your preferences and requirements. As a result, altering the shape of teeth might rectify your gummy smile by balancing the proportion of teeth to gums.
  3. Root planing and scaling– Root planing and scaling is a procedure used by dentists to remove plaque from tooth roots. Nevertheless, it might also be advantageous for you to reduce a gummy smile. During scaling, the dentist eliminates plaque from your teeth to the roots. After scaling, the dentist will perform root planing, which will smooth the roots and enable the gums to reconnect, altering the gum line.
  4. Botox injection – Botox injections on the upper lips are another effective gummy smile fix option in case you want to ditch a complicated surgical option. Botox injected into the upper lip will relax, preventing it from moving excessively. As a result, your upper lip will not rise while you smile, and your gums will no longer be exposed.Despite being an effective gummy smile treatment option, you must also remember that Botox is not a permanent remedy. You will be able to see the results within a week of undergoing Botox treatment. Typically, the effects will last between three and six months. After that time frame, you will need to get Botox treatment again or choose an alternate solution to correct your gummy smile.
  5. Hyaluronic acid injection– Another relatively latest gummy smile fix option is Hyaluronic acid injection, which A. Diaspro first introduced in 2018. In this technique, a small quantity of hyaluronic acid is injected into the paranasal area of the face.As a result, this injection limits the movement of the area’s side muscles, which reduces the elevation of the upper lip while smiling. This process is similar to Botox but can be considered a better alternative.

    However, since this is a relatively new method, you must consult an experienced dentist with an extensive understanding of facial anatomy.

How to get rid of a gummy smile with a surgical approach

Often most people believe that their gummy smile results from small teeth, but this might also result from a specific condition called passive eruption. In this condition, the gum tissue covers an excessive amount of the teeth.

Under such circumstances, the only way left is to remove excess gum tissue surgically. Here are a few surgical gummy smile treatment approaches for you.

  • Gum Lift or Gingivectomy Process– If you have gummy smile issues due to overgrown gums, the gum lift treatment might be the best gummy smile fix. Gingivectomy involves removing extra gum tissue and reshaping the gum line.

    The best part is this procedure enables the dentist to sculpt the teeth and gums to get the desired smile. Typically, the gingivectomy recovery time lasts one week, and during this period, you may suffer slight swelling and pain. Post-recovery, you will be able to see the final results.

  • Crown-lengthening surgery– Dentists mostly perform crown-lengthening surgery when removing a significant amount of gum tissue. If your teeth have not developed correctly or seem smaller than usual, you may choose this treatment option.

    In this treatment, your dentist may extend your crowns surgically by eliminating the gum tissue or bone and sculpting the remaining tissues. Consequently, you will be able to expose more teeth and restore the gum to its normal position. In four to six weeks, you will be able to see the final results of the crown lengthening procedure.

  • Lip Lowering or Lip repositioning– Lip-lowering or lip repositioning surgery is another effective gummy smile fix technique in case you have hyperactive lips.

    In a lip repositioning surgery, the dentist may rearrange your lip to lip surgery, making your smile appear less gummy. Your dentist will make two incisions, one beneath your lip and another at the gum line.

    Then, a tiny strip of gum tissue will be removed and sutured to a lower position. Thus, your upper lip will not move up when you smile. The best part about this surgical procedure is that it is minimally invasive.

    The recovery period for this surgery is around two weeks. You may experience soreness and bruises at the surgical site during this time. You might also need to refrain from smiling for up to four weeks while your mouth and lips recover and you do not damage the sculpted gumline your surgeon has created. After four weeks, you will be able to notice the complete results.

  • Maxifocal surgery– Sometimes, you may have a gummy smile due to an abnormal facial bone structure. Even though it is one of the rarest causes of a gummy smile, very few individuals may require this surgical gummy smile treatment option.

    In rare cases, the middle portion of a person’s face grows more prolonged than the surrounding portions, referred to as a vertical maxillary excess. This ailment causes the upper lip to protrude, revealing more gum, and maxillofacial surgery might help to resolve this condition.

What is the cost of a gummy smile?

It is hard to determine the exact cost of gummy smile treatment because it largely depends on several factors. To get a precise estimate of the process, you must consult a dentist who can guide you in the best possible way.

Now, if you are in North Sydney or Bondi Junction, you must visit the Smile by Design clinic. We are ready to guide you and deliver the best result based on your requirements.


Depending on the underlying cause of this condition, there are a wide array of surgical and non-surgical gummy smile treatment options from which you may pick one.

Generally, gummy smiles offer no health risks but may cause considerable psychological stress for many individuals.
From this article, we hope you have found an answer to how to smile without showing gums. It’s time that you must schedule an appointment with us at Smile by Design.

Our dentist Dr. Tam will determine the root cause of your gummy smile during the first appointment after carefully analyzing your oral condition. You may then choose the treatment that best meets your requirements.

Are you ready to schedule an appointment at Smile by Design to get rid of your gummy smile now?

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