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Gummy Smile

What is a gummy smile?

A gummy smile is when a person smiles and shows an above average amount of gum tissue. This could be due to shorter teeth, or an over-pronounced gum line.

The proportions for an aesthetically pleasing smile should have one to two millimetres of gum tissue showing. A gummy looking smile can occur when more than 2mm of gum tissue is on display when a person smiles.

What factors can lead into having a gummy smile?

  1. Having small sized teeth relative to the height of the visible gum, due to either genetic factors or excessively worn down teeth.
  2. Having a short upper lip, otherwise known as high lip line.
  3. A hyperactive lip elevator muscle.
  4. Vertical overgrowth of the upper jaw bone, a genetically determined skeletal deformity.
  5. Teeth which have suffered from altered passive eruption.
  6. A combination of two or more of the above factors.

If you present to us seeking treatment for a gummy smile, we will first ascertain the cause. Identifying the correct cause of the gummy smile is the only way to correctly treat it.

Crown lengthening

The crown lengthening process involves a surgical treatment to remove some of the bone around the root of the teeth. This increases the height of the tooth crown and repositions the gum level to show less gum. The outcome of this option can be predicted with more certainty, especially the gum’s final position. However, treatment can take several months and also involves all the complications associated with any form of surgery, such as pain, bleeding, swelling etc.

Laser gum reshaping

With mild cases, laser gum reshaping can be used to provide a very painless, bloodless, quick, and effective way of reducing the amount of gum tissue on display. This method does not remove any underlying bone tissue. The advantage of this technique is its simplicity and being minimally invasive. The disadvantage is that the final outcome may not be as predictable as surgical bone removal. Furthermore, the gum may re-grow.  However it has a good success rate and in combination with other treatments it can be very effective.

Composite veneers

If the gummy smile is caused by small or worn down teeth, we can use porcelain or composite veneers to restore the teeth back to their former length and height.


In some more complex scenarios, a gummy smile is caused by a genetically determined skeletal deformity. In some cases, this can be treated with orthodontics. Mild to moderate issues can be rectified using Invisalign. More severe deformities are treated with orthognathic jaw surgery and orthodontics.

Initial consultation

Before we carry out any modifications to your gum line, we first take photos and impressions of your teeth and provide you with a trial smile. The trial smile shows you a preview of how your teeth could look in your own mouth should you decide to have your gummy smile treated.

We will always provide you with a full written treatment plan so that you are fully aware of the costs involved before we begin. Our fees are published on our website so that there are no hidden costs. We can also provide 0% Finance on most treatments allowing you to spread the cost over a period that suits you.


Pearl Dental Clinic is open 7 days a week. You can book an appointment by calling us on 0203 750 5300 or emailing us or also by booking an appointment online

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