Having a beautiful natural smile is what many desire. But is it something which is really attainable?

While there may be just a few of those who smile with confidence as their lips turn upward and they showcase those pearly whites; there are also those who don’t have the good luck to have that kind of perfect smile. Some of these people are affected by a condition which is known as ‘gummy smile’.

Now you will be wondering what is a gummy smile and how does it impact us and our daily lives? As the name suggests, it has more or less to do with your gums and how they expose when you smile.

In this article, I will be talking in great detail about what is meant by gummy smile and why it impacts you and your confidence.

But the good news is – it can also be treated.

So let’s get into it already:

What is a Gummy Smile?

how a gummy smile works

A gummy smile is quite a common condition and it pertains to how your excessive gingival or the gum area comes in display as you smile.

This is the gum tissue which comes on top of your upper teeth and when you smile, they become readily visible.

While it doesn’t hold any clinical issue or damages to your oral health, the biggest disadvantage of this kind of condition is that it directly hits on your consciousness and makes you doubt your self-worth. It impacts how you deal and come across in social circles.

It is not certain or clear if age plays a role; there are those who are adults and elderly who face this condition, as well as very young children who can also go through the same issues at a very early age.

While there isn’t a set pattern that can suggest if it impacts men more or the opposite gender, one thing is certain, women do feel more conscious when their gumline is exposing as they smile or laugh.

So What Does a Gummy Smile Look Like:

Well for starters, it means that your smile has gum being exposed. There is no concrete definition when it comes to determining if you have a gummy smile or not. It largely depends on the person looking, hence judging.

It is your own vision and perception which usually sets on a few concrete factors:

  • The shape of your teeth
  • The height of your teeth
  • How your lips move when you smile or talk
  • At what angle is your jaw resting
  • How it is placed when compared to how your face looks overall

Let’s now talk about what are the major causes of this condition:

Causes of a Gummy Smile

When it comes to what is causing you to expose your gum as you smile, it can be due to a number of reasons. I will now focus on some of the most common ones you can face and how to combat them:

The way your teeth are growing 

This is one of the most common causes which a person can face. The way your adult teeth are growing us a major trait and factor to how your smile will come out.

The thing is if your gums are covering more of your teeth’s surface, this leads to the creation of a gummy smile. The way the gums are covering the surface of your teeth is a condition known as altered passive eruption.

So when you face a condition in which your teeth are growing in too far, or what dental experts consider as ‘overeruption’, chances are your gums have also grown in too far.

Another state which causes the condition to materialize is when you are suffering from a vertical maxillary. This is a condition on which the upper jaw us growing longer and it isn’t considered in the normal range anymore.

Having lip variation

what is lip variation

This is when how your lips move and how they fall in alignment to one another plays a role in exposing your gumline. If your upper lip is on the shorter end, that leads to higher chances of you getting a gummy smile.

If you are one of those whose lips move in a weird and different kind of way every time you smile, it makes you prone to having your gum exposure

High on medication 

Sometimes it also depends on the kind of medicines you are taking. If you are taking medicines which are of high potency, they directly relate to and play a role in exposing your gums more than you want them to

In certain cases, medicines which control seizures or control high blood pressure, also cause the overgrowth of the gums.

However this is also a cause of concern, and it is best if you get a treatment for this condition. As in case you don’t get a treatment, it can also lead to periodontal disease.

Now that you have a fairly good idea on what are the major causes of this condition, I will now give you the good news- it can be treated.

Treatment Options for Gummy Smile

Luckily there are a range of options for you to choose from according to your needs and requirement. Let’s get on with it:

Getting An Oral Surgery

In case your gums are covering a huge part of your teeth, then your dental expert can suggest a procedure which provides definite results. It is called gingivectomy. This is a specialized procedure in which your extra gum tissue is taken care of and a removal procedure is done.

A scalpel or laser is made use of so to trim your gums and reshape them in a way that they are not as revealing on your teeth’s surface.

Lip Reposition Method

This relates to the condition in which your gummy smile is happening because of how their is lip variation. In cases where the lips are causing the main issue, this is a surgery that works best for you. In this method, the position of your lips is changed and taken care of.

The alteration is done so, where connective tissue from the upper lip is removed. It takes care of the elevator muscles. These are in the area of your lip and actually removed from your upper lip so to not make the lips aligned in an unnatural way.

Jaw-Related Surgery

adapting surgery

In case your condition is because of the jaw, the surgery you can opt for is ‘orthognathic surgery’. The main aim of this surgery is that it aims to create a balance between your upper as well as lower jaw.

It is somewhat of a complicated procedure, in which a few scans are at first taken of your mouth to know how they differ and where the jaw has been growing way too far and causing a misalignment.

You will most likely have to put on teeth braces or any other orthodontic devices which help in keeping your teeth’s alignment in a proper way.

Using Anchorage Devices

This is the option you can opt for when you don’t want to go for a surgery. It is a non-surgical method in which your dentist uses a temporary anchorage. This is a kind of device which helps to pull your teeth into a proper position. This helps to get your gummy smile in place and also focuses on keeping your gums in place too. They work in a similar way to crowns.


You may find it odd to see Botox being mentioned in this list but turns out it is a great strategy to use when you want your elevator muscles to be kept in proper control. Having an injection of Botox  helps in keeping the jawline less visible. It is said that after just a few weeks of treatment, you will notice quite a visible difference in the smiles especially the gumline.

Why people opt for that is, it is less expensive and non-invasive as compared to the other surgery options. However you would usually require to have regular injections for the next 4-5months.  However the secret lies in getting just the right amount of Botox injections as having way too much can also lead to your smile becoming distorted. The key is to get the treatment but keep it as natural as possible.

So To Sum Up

ensuring a gummy smile gets fixed

Looking into how your gummy smile makes you feel, the decision lies entirely upon your own judgement if you wish to have it fixed or leave it as it is.

A gummy smile simply means that your gum is visible. Many people feel conscious about that. If you do so as well, you should opt for a treatment. This smile does not relate to your age. In fact a gummy smile is not synched with aging and dental health.

The excessive gingival display is prominent because of a few reasons. It can be due to how your teeth are growing in. Or the length of your upper lip and how your lips are moving when you are talking.

While some treatment options are invasive, others are what suit you better. So in such cases, it is best if you leave the decision on your doctor.

Your smile matters. Opt for a decision which will emphasize on your self-esteem and make you confident in your own skin.