Gummy Smiles: Why, and What Can You Do About Them?


I have recently treated a patient who did not like her gummy smile, and her teeth were misaligned. She did not communicate to me that she had a problem with the gums showing but secretly hoped that Invisalign would help that – a fact that she admitted to later. In fact, <strong>Invisalign will straighten a person’s bite but doesn’t do much at all for all of those gums showing with a big smile.   Near the end of her invisalign treatment this patient  realized that her gummy smile was not going to be handled by Invisalign.

So what is a gummy smile? When a person smiles, you can see their gums. At 3mm of gum showing patients find the “too much gum” unacceptable.

Causes can be: too much gum around the teeth which hides much of the tooth structure that should be visible; a jaw problem; a lip problem. The fix depends on what exactly is wrong that needs to be fixed.

The easiest fix is when there is too much gum hiding the tooth structure. For this procedure the gum is trimmed back, either with a laser or a scalpel (depending on the surgeon) and the tissue is contoured to the desired shape. When well done, the final result is awesome.

I’ve heard of Botox use recently for gummy smiles. The downside to this is that the Botox has to be applied every few months. And I’m not sure that injecting bacteria is something I’d personally sign up for even once.