Gummy Smile

What is Gummy Smile and how is it treated?

Gingival smile, or gummy smile is a facial alteration which is defined by excessive exposure of the gingival tissue, or gums, when smiling.

This type of facial malformation also presents, in many cases, a vertical excess of the upper jaw that gives the patient a face that is too long and not very harmonious.

As a rule, patients with gummy smile are not at all satisfied with their facial aesthetics, besides presenting problems of hypersensitivity to the cold, or malocclusion, when the gingival smile is due to an abnormal development of teeth or maxillary bone.

CAUSES of gummy or gingival smile 

  • Excess of gingival tissue. In these cases, the teeth may have a normal length, but appear shorter due to excess gum.
  • Hyperactivity of the muscle that controls the upper lip is another known cause of a gummy smile. In these cases, the lip rises more than normal when smiling (high lip line), creating a gingival smile effect.
  • An abnormal development of the maxilla bone, which pushes down the gingival tissue.

SOLUTIONS to gummy or gingival smile 

Depending on the cause of the gummy smile, there are two classic solutions to treat it:

• A bimaxillary orthognathic surgery to impact the maxilla, that is, to reposition it upwards and eliminate excess gums. Normally this type of patients will also receive orthodontic treatment.

• An orthodontic treatment combined with a periodontal treatment. Orthodontics would be responsible for correcting misaligned teeth and periodontics, to reduce the excess of gums that cover the teeth in patients with gingival smile, with a procedure called "crown lenghtening", in which the periodontist removes excess tissue gingival to expose more surface of the tooth.


To determine the most appropriate smile line for each patient, several factors must be taken into account:

  • Shape and size of the lips
  • Facial muscles
  • Shape and size of teeth
  • Gingival tissue

To have a more attractive smile line, visible gum tissue should have balanced contours that complement the upper lip.

why treat your gummy/gingival smile

After the treatment of the gingival smile, the aesthetic change is spectacular. The smile is much sweeter and more balanced between the arch of teeth of the maxilla and the jaw.

In cases of treatment with orthognathic surgery, the face, which in most patients with a gingival smile is too long, becomes more rounded and harmonious thanks to the impaction of the maxilla, achieving a greater harmony of the facial features.