Gummy Smile

Correct diagnosis is key to solving a complex cosmetic concern

The appeal of a smile has as much to do with perception as it has with aesthetics. People generally seek cosmetic dental treatment when they are not happy with the way that their smile looks.  In some cases people feel that too much gum tissue is showing or that their gums protrude when they smile. It could be that they feel that their teeth appear too small, or that so much gum is on show that their teeth make no impact. A gummy smile can make someone feel very self-conscious.

So how do you define a gummy smile?

That is really a matter of perception, and will vary from individual to individual. But generally a smile will appear gummy when four millimetres (just over an eighth of an inch) of gum shows. Many people may not be aware that there are options out there for correcting or changing an excessively gummy looking smile. If a gummy smile interferes with an individual’s enjoyment of their life, their comfort or well-being, it will certainly be worth looking into doing something about it. And there is a lot that can be done. First, your Dentists Near Me dentist will determine exactly why you have a gummy smile so that they can find the best solution. They will do this by assessing:

  • The amount of the gum that is on display
  • The shape and size of your teeth
  • The degree of movement and the length of your upper lip
  • The position vertically of the teeth and the upper jaw in relation to the skull

A complex issue

The proportion of the teeth to the gum tissues is key. Tooth eruption is an active process.Teeth move through the gums and supporting bone and become visible in the mouth. Growth is complete when the permanent teeth meet in the upper and lower jaw. Then the gum and bone tissues shrink back and somewhere in the late teens in girls and early 20's in boys they stabilize. The ideal crown length (tooth visible above the gum line) is usually about 10 mm which is considered normal. Variations in the eruption process however, can give rise to incongruities in the normal relationship of teeth to gums, and this can result in teeth that are shorter than normal - and also to a gummy smile.


If the upper teeth look too short, periodontal plastic surgery can remove excess tissue and can lengthen teeth and so correct a gummy smile.


A combination of periodontal crown lengthening and veneers will achieve a beautiful smile.


Gumminess that is caused by excessive gum tissue obscuring the crowns of the teeth can be corrected with a periodontal plastic surgery technique that is called "crown lengthening". During this procedure, excess gum tissue and underlying bone will be reshaped so that the full length of teeth is exposed.


In some instances excessive tooth wear might also cause anomalies in the tooth to gum ratio.


Over time, with wear, teeth will become shorterincrementally. This can give rise to compensatory eruption, where the teeth move towardsopposing teeth very slowly to compensate. This can increasea gummy smile because the gums, move with theerupting teeth. Correctable with orthodontic treatment the affected teeth will be pushed back into position. This will be followed by restoration of the lost tooth structure with porcelain restorations or with bonding.


If you think you would like help with this kind of treatment then Dentists Near Me will be able to identify a dentist at a location that is convenient to you.