Gummy Smile

When you smile, are you bothered by the amount of gum you see?

Do you feel that your teeth are smaller than the normal? At Bouserhal Orthodontics, we have got you covered. Certain cases require the help of other specialized dentists and some require our expertise only. Mini implants are one of the tools that are used to decrease the gum show.

Bouserhal Orthodontics is one of the leading practices that uses mini implants, also known as Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs). Results have been impressive and all patients have been satisfied by the efficiency of this treatment option.

What is a gummy smile?

It is the name given to a smile characterized by more gum tissue show than normal. It is also quantified by the gingival level in the gum to lip relationship. In general, patients with a gummy smile avoid smiling, are embarrassed, have low self-esteem and search constantly for a solution to their problem.


  • An excessive display of gum tissue in your upper jaw can result from the abnormal eruption of the teeth. Teeth covered by excessive gum tissue appear short, even though they may actually be the proper length.
  • The muscle that controls the movement of your upper lip could be hyperactive, causing your upper lip to rise up higher than normal. When this occurs, more of your gum tissue is exposed when you smile.
  • The manner in which your upper jaw bone grew and developed could cause the appearance of a gummy smile. For instance, if there was an excessive bulging protrusion of the upper jaw within the gum tissue, you would experience an obvious gummy appearance when you smile.

An Esthetic Problem or Something More?

The smile line or esthetic zone – the teeth that are showing when you are smiling – is determined by several factors, including:

  • The shape and size of your lips.
  • Your facial muscles.
  • The shape and size of your teeth.
  • Your gum tissue.

The optimal smile line appearance should reveal the least amount of gum tissue possible. Gum tissue visible in the smile line should have balanced, even contours that are in harmony with the upper lip. It is for this reason that many people with a gummy smile or excessive gingival display feel their smile to be unattractive, oftentimes feeling reluctant to smile at all.

However, more serious underlying dental conditions could be present. For example, if you have a gummy smile caused as a result of how the teeth erupted and how the jaw developed, you may also have an uncomfortable or improper bite that could ultimately affect your long-term oral health.

The appeal of a smile has to do with both aesthetics and perception. When people seek cosmetic dental treatment because they are unhappy with their smiles, chances are they have a legitimate problem. Some individuals’ feel they show too much gum tissue or their gums are too prominent when they smile. Either their teeth appear too small, or so much gum tissue shows that the teeth are not making an impact. And a gummy smile can make a person feel self-conscious.

So what is the definition of a gummy smile? That’s a matter of perception, and therefore will vary from person to person. But it has been shown that a smile will usually be perceived as gummy when four millimeters — a tad more than an eighth of an inch — of gum tissue shows.

Many people are not aware that there are options for correcting or altering the appearance of an excessively gummy smile. If a gummy smile impacts a person’s enjoyment of life, comfort, and well-being, it could just be time to do something about it. And a lot can be done. First, your dentist will need to determine exactly why your smile looks gummy because understanding the cause always directs us towards the best solution.

The Issue Is Not Just Gum Tissue

Gummy smiles look, well, gummy, when the proportions of the teeth, gum tissues, and the upper jaw are not in harmony with each other. The position of the upper lip also plays a role. Gumminess in your smile, then, is a combination of:

  • The amount of gum tissue display
  • The size and shape of the teeth
  • The length and the degree of movement of the upper lip

The vertical position of the upper jaw and teeth in relationship to the skull

How is it treated?

Before treatment, it’s necessary to understand exactly what causes a gummy smile. For that, we communicate with general dentists and specialists to provide you with the best treatment option possible.

Several types of treatments are available.

In our practice three methods are used for treating a gummy smile.

  • Mini implants to intrude over erupted teeth and level them to correct position so that it eliminates gingival display. This technique isn’t common amongst all orthodontists, which makes Bouserhal Orthodontics one of the leading practices in the use of Mini-implants.
  • Periodontal surgery; we use a type of laser to remove from the gum line, in order to increase the height of short crowns.
  • Orthognathic surgery; this treatment option is for more severe cases that involve jaws deformity. In the gummy smile cases, we move the upper teeth upward to establish a better gum to lip relationship.