Gummy Smile

Written by: Alice Hart-Davis

Last Updated: 22 September 2023

A “gummy smile” is the colloquial term used to describe an excessive exposure of the gums when you smile. In medical terms this is known as “excessive gingival display” and is usually diagnosed when more than 2mm of the gum is exposed when smiling. It is a common problem that is generally caused by overgrowth of the gum tissue, but the positioning of the jaw and the way the jaw developed can also play a part. People with a gummy smile may feel that their gums look too big or prominent when they smile. It can also impact the aesthetics of the smile in other ways by making the smile look uneven or wonky and by making the teeth appear disproportionately smaller than they are. A gummy smile often goes hand-in-hand with a high lip line and short upper lip too. Scroll down for answers to all the FAQs about gummy smiles.

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FAQ ABOUT Gummy Smile

How much will it cost to fix my gummy smile?

The cost of treatment will depend on the severity of your gum exposure, what the underlying cause is and what procedure you choose to have. Prices also vary from practice to practice depending on geographical location. Gum contouring with a laser is one of the most common treatments and can cost from £150-£250, while botulinum toxin (toxins) would be anywhere from £200-£400 and would have to be repeated roughly every four to six months. Orthodontic treatments to straighten and reposition the jaw and/or teeth can also help as well as procedures such as crown lengthening. For more advanced dental work to correct a gummy smile you could expect to pay anywhere between £1,500 to £10,000. If the problem has been caused by the positioning of your jaw then surgical options such as lip or jaw repositioning may be more effective and these could cost into the thousands.

Can a child grow out of a gummy smile?

It is possible but it is also possible that the appearance of a gummy smile will get worse as the jaw develops and grows. If you are concerned about your child’s teeth or smile you should consult with a dentist.

Can I use toxins to correct a gummy smile?

Yes. In some cases a gummy smile is caused by the muscle that controls the movement of your upper lip being “hyperactive”, which causes your upper lip to sit higher up than normal, therefore exposing more of your gum tissue when you smile. toxins works by suppressing this activity of the muscle, which then relaxes and lowers the lip. It can take up to two weeks after treatment for the full result to be visible This is a specialist technique and is not performed by everyone offering wrinkle busting injections. With anything to do with your smile and gums, the safest thing to do is consultant with an experienced dental practitioner.

Is a gummy smile attractive?

Our smiles are one of the most effective means of conveying our emotions and are a key focus of the face. Many people with a gummy smile say that it makes them feel self-conscious and less attractive.

Can a lip lowering procedure help with a gummy smile?

Yes. If your gummy smile is a result of the muscle that controls the elevation of your lip then toxins injections can help. They lower the lip by relaxing the muscles that are causing it to sit in a more elevated position. Lip lowering surgery is also another option for more permanent results or in more severe cases.

Does surgery to fix a gummy smile help?

If your gummy smile has been caused by the positioning of your jaw then there are surgical options available to correct this. Maxillofacial surgery can be performed to reposition the bone. Other surgical options also include gum repositioning and lip lowering surgery. Crown lengthening is another procedure that can be performed to remove excess gum tissue thereby exposing more of the crown of the tooth and making the teeth appear longer. This is usually performed by a specialist periodontist.

What is the best treatment for a gummy smile?

There are a number of treatments for gummy smiles which will depend on the severity of the gum exposure and what underlying causes there are. Laser gum contouring is one of the most popular procedures for dealing with excessive gum tissue. This involves removing some of the exposed gum tissue around the most visible front teeth, so more of the tooth is exposed, reproportioning the tooth-to-gum ratio. In most cases this is a quick and simple procedure done with local anaesthetic. Because the laser seals off the blood vessels, it doesn’t take long to heal. In fact you can be back to normal in a few hours.

Do lip fillers help with a gummy smile?

In some cases lip fillers can improve the appearance of a gummy smile if the top lip is positioned too high and is thin, leading to more exposure of the gums than if the lip was fuller. In this case subtle enhancement and balancing of the upper lip could improve the appearance of a gummy smile.


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