What is a Gummy Smile?
A gummy smile (GS), which dentists call excessive gingival display, is when too much gum tissue shows above the top teeth when smiling. There must be at least 3mm of excess gum tissue showing to be considered GS.
Gummy smiles often make people feel self-conscious, and they end up seeking treatment electively for cosmetic reasons. In other cases, a patient may need to fix his or her gummy smile for dental health reasons.
Our Gummy Smile Expert
Dr Simone Verardi
We are honoured to have Dr Simone Verardi on our team. Under his expert guidance we have developed a protocol to deal with gummy smiles and also gingival recession. He has many years of experience and has done some wonderful work at our practice.
Simone Verardi currently works in private practice in Rome and London and at the Department of Periodontics, University of Washington Seattle. He also lectures and carries out research in Dental Surgery, Implantology and Periodontics at the University of Washington.
Dr VerardiGraduated from the Sapienza University in Rome in Dentistry and specialized in Periodontics at The University of Naples Frederico II and Washington State University Seattle.
Types of Gummy Smiles
- Anterior – when too much gum tissue shows above the upper front teeth (typically in between the two canines)
- Posterior – when too much gum tissue shows above the upper back teeth
- Mixed – when excess gum tissue shows above the upper front and back teeth
- Asymmetric – when excess gum tissue shows on just one side of the upper jaw
Causes of Gummy Smile
Genetic factors and gum and lip irregularities
If your teeth are naturally smaller in comparison to your gums, a gummy smile can form. Some people are also born with a short upper lip or excess gum tissue, all of which can cause a gummy smile.Certain genetic gum and lip irregularities can cause a gummy smile, such as:
- Gingival hypertrophy – when the gums are enlarged or too long. The upper jaw overgrows (maxillary excess), making the gums appear too long.
- A hyperactive upper lip – which is when your upper lip appears normal while resting but lifts higher when smiling, resulting in the exposure of more gum tissue.
- Improper Tooth Eruption – tooth eruption problems that occur during childhood can also create a gummy smile. For example, teeth can appear too short or remain partly covered by your gums.
How to Fix a Gummy Smile
People of all ages can get treatment to fix GS. Most patients who invest in gummy smile treatment do so to improve their smile and boost their confidence. However, the type of treatment depends on the cause and severity of your gummy smile. Common treatment options for this condition include:
Orthodontic Treatment for GS
Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or clear aligners (e.g., Invisalign), is a great option for mild cases of GS caused by a misalignment in the jaws and teeth.Orthodontic devices move the teeth into the correct position and fix a patient’s bite, resulting in less gum tissue showing above the upper teeth.
Some orthodontists also anchor small titanium implants (TADS) into the patient’s bone during orthodontic treatment. This helps move the teeth into their ideal locations and also fixes more severe cases of GS.
Botox Injections for GS
Botox is a common cosmetic treatment that reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.However, botulinum toxin (BT or botox) injections can also reduce the visibility of excess gum tissue at rest and while smiling.
When treating a gummy smile, BT is injected in smaller doses to limit the over-contraction of your upper lip muscles. You will also be asked to smile at full capacity before the BT is injected to ensure the treatment is effective. How many injections are needed and where they will be injected depends on the type of gummy smile you have. For example, patients with deep nasolabial folds (smile lines) and short upper lips typically receive two to three botox injections per treatment. Botox injections are an ongoing gummy smile treatment. They must be completed every three to six months.
Restorative and Cosmetic Treatments for GS
Certain restorative and cosmetic dental procedures can also treat some cases of gummy smile. These include:
- Dental Crown Lengthening
Dental (tooth) crown lengthening can fix the appearance of a gummy smile. This treatment is also used to fix decayed or broken teeth below the gum line. During the procedure, a periodontist reshapes your gum tissue, exposing more of your natural tooth or teeth. As a result, the excess gum tissue above your upper teeth is less visible. Lengthening can fix one tooth, a few teeth, or your entire gum line.
Veneers are thin, tooth-coloured shells that fit over your front teeth to improve their appearance, shape, and size.Veneers are typically performed after the gum recontouring or crown lengthening surgery to improve the appearance of the exposed tooth. This treatment can be used to fix a gummy smile. However, it is also the most expensive form of treatment if you want to fix more than one tooth.
- Laser Gingivectomy
If your gummy smile is caused by gum tissue overgrowth, a gingivectomy is a great treatment option.During the procedure, your general dentist either uses a laser or scalpel to remove the excess gum tissue.
Gummy Smile Treatment Fees
|Gummy Smile Consultation||£140|
|Gummy Smile Treatment||Dependent on each case|
Book a Consultation with Dr Simone Verardi to find out what type of treatment would help you improve your gummy smile.