How to fix a gummy smile

A great smile plays a major role in how we socialise, interact and feel about ourselves, but sometimes even the straightest, whitest, beaming smile can be impacted by excessive gingival display.

The good news is a “gummy smile”, as it’s known, can be fixed and often it’s as simple as orthodontics or cosmetic injections.

What is a gummy smile?

A gummy smile doesn’t really have a technical definition but rather comes down to personal perception. That said, a recent study indicates a smile may be perceived as “gummy” when the distance between the top of the upper front teeth and the lip exceeds about 3mm.

The reason for this excess gum display varies. Sometimes it’s due to teeth that appear short because they remain partly covered by the gum tissue, other times it’s because of genetics or excessive tooth wear, it can also be attributed to an upper lip that’s too short, or even a normal lip that lifts too high when someone smiles.

Meanwhile, it’s thought women are twice as likely to have a gummy smile than men, with further research finding 10 per cent of their study population aged between 20 and 30 years had gummy smiles.

So how do you fix it?

Remedying a gummy smile involves determining the cause, with orthodontics, gum contouring, veneers and cosmetic injectables among the most common treatments.


If the position of the teeth is a contributing factor, orthodontics is often the preferred course of action. This allows the teeth to be gently shifted into the correct position to make the gums appear more prominent.

Tissue removal

If too much gum tissue is the underlying cause of a gummy smile, patients might be referred to a periodontist for a gingivectomy. This procedure sees excess gum tissue removed, and the gums contoured to improve the appearance of the smile.

Gum contouring

In a similar way, laser gum contouring can help remove excess gum tissue, without the patient having to go under the knife.


Veneers work to improve the appearance of a gummy smile by covering the natural teeth with a thin layer of porcelain. This is a favoured option when the teeth are too short as a result of genetics or wear and tear.

Lip surgery

When the cause of a gummy smile is determined to be due to lip positioning, surgery is one of the available options. Surgery is often employed when the upper lip is too short or when the lip is too high when a patient smiles.

Cosmetic injections

Cosmetic injections can be a very effective alternative to surgery when it comes to treating a gummy smile. They work by relaxing the muscles that overextend the smile, offering a more balanced appearance with less gum visible.

What next?

If you’re concerned about the appearance of your smile, Brite Dental can assist. Our clinic offers a range of services to help determine the cause of a gummy smile, with treatment options like orthodontics, veneers, and cosmetic injectables available.

About Brite Dental

Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.

Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.

You can learn more about our dental services here, or contact us to book your next appointment.