Fixing a Gummy Smile: What Can You Do?

Cartoon of a woman with a gummy smile

A gummy smile is a smile that shows too much of your gum line, and it can be a cause of embarrassment or an insecurity for many people who have them. Gummy smiles, or excessive gingival display, can be caused by a host of issues with your mouth such as a jaw development problem, incorrect bite, and hyperactive or overly short upper lip. But an important question remains: can you fix a gummy smile?

Whether you’re interested in fixing your gummy smile for only aesthetic reasons or to address these underlying issues, there are options that can help. Whether you’re interested in a non-surgical procedure, like orthodontic treatment or crowns, or a surgical procedure, like a gingivectomy or lip repositioning surgery, you can find information on a range of different treatment options here. Continue reading to find which may be the best option to fix your gummy smile and achieve the smile of your dreams.

Can You Fix a Gummy Smile without Surgery?

Yes! There are non-surgical options available that can help you fix your gummy smile. Below, you can find the most popular non-surgical options for fixing a gummy smile.

Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment can be a good option if your gummy smile is caused by a jaw issue or an improper bite. By treating these underlying issues, you can take care of both any pain and discomfort caused by these conditions and the aesthetic issue of a gummy smile at the same time.

With a correctly aligned smile, your gums may show less, which will lessen the appearance of your gummy smile. Make sure to speak with your dentist or orthodontist about whether or not orthodontic treatment is the right option to help with your gummy smile.

Veneers or Crowns

Veneers or crowns are a good solution if there aren’t any major underlying issues that are causing your gummy smile. Getting a veneer or crown attached to your teeth is a purely aesthetic treatment, so if there’s an underlying condition that’s causing your gummy smile, this won’t help with any pain or discomfort caused by those conditions.

For this treatment option, your dentist or orthodontist will attach veneers or crowns to your teeth to make them appear longer and larger. This will have the effect of making your teeth look like they’re more proportionate to your gums. This is a relatively non-invasive way to lessen the appearance of your gummy smile.

Root Planing and Scaling

Scaling is when a dentist removes plaque from the tooth all the way to the root, including under the gum. After scaling the teeth, your dentist will then smooth out your tooth’s roots to help your gums reattach. This is a good option to both deep clean your teeth and change your gum line.

Crown-Lengthening Procedures (Gingivectomy)

gingivectomy procedure
Gingivectomy and laser contouring procedures reshape the gumline through gum removal.

If you’re interested in a surgical procedure, a gingivectomy is one of the most popular options when it comes to treating a gummy smile. A gingivectomy is a crown-lengthening procedure where an orthodontist will remove gum tissue from the tooth, exposing more of your natural tooth.

Where a veneer or a crown will make your teeth appear more proportionate to your gums, a gingivectomy will actually lessen the amount of gum tissue you have to make your natural teeth more proportionate. This is a more invasive procedure than getting a veneer or crown but is still overall a minimally invasive orthodontic procedure. It is also referred to as a gum contouring surgery.

Laser Gum Contouring

Laser gum contouring is similar to a gingivectomy, but unlike a gingivectomy, this procedure uses a laser to contour the gums and move back your gum line. Much like a traditional gingivectomy, this procedure is minimally invasive, reshapes the gum line, and is usually a procedure done for cosmetic and aesthetic purposes and not because it is medically necessary. Many times, laser gum contouring does remove more gum tissue than a traditional gingivectomy, but the amount removed will vary depending on your mouth and gum shape.

With both laser gum contouring and a traditional gingivectomy, you’ll likely be given a local anesthetic for the procedure. You will likely experience discomfort after both of these procedures, though the pain from your procedure will change depending on how much of your gum needs to be removed. Your dentist or orthodontist will have more specific instructions for you when you’re discussing your procedure options.

Lip Repositioning Surgery or Botox

Lip Repositioning Surgery or Botox
Lip repositioning involves surgically moving the lip downward.

If the underlying cause of your gummy smile is a hyperactive upper lip, you have a few options that can help. One option is to get lip repositioning surgery, which is when your lip is surgically moved downward to hide more of your gums and make your smile more proportionate. This is a minimally invasive procedure that can be very effective in making your smile look more proportional and get rid of your gummy smile.

Botox can also be helpful if you have a hyperactive upper lip. When you inject Botox into your upper lip, it will limit the range of movement for your upper lip, which will limit the amount of your gums that show when you smile. This is a very minimally invasive issue if your gummy smile is caused by a hyperactive upper lip. Unlike lip repositioning surgery, this is not a permanent solution to your gummy smile and will wear off in three to six months. To find out if one of these options is right for you, make sure to consult your dentist or orthodontist.

How Much does it Cost to Fix a Gummy Smile?

The cost of fixing your gummy smile will change depending on a number of factors. It can range from as little as $300 to upwards of $8,000 depending on what treatment option you choose. If the option you’re working with involves multiple visits or treatments or a surgery, it will be more expensive.

You should be sure to consult with your dentist or orthodontist about the specific cost of your treatment. The most inexpensive option, which is often root planing and scaling, may sound good to your bank account, but that doesn’t mean it will be the best option to fix your gummy smile.

Consult with Your Dentist or Orthodontist

If you’re interested in correcting your gummy smile or the underlying issues that are causing your gummy smile, make sure to consult your dentist or orthodontist about your issues. They’ll be able to discuss your treatment options with you as well as determine whether your issue is purely aesthetic or if there’s an underlying problem, like a hyperactive upper lip or an improper bite, that can be corrected to help give you pain relief and relieve you of your gummy smile. If there’s a treatment option that you’re particularly interested in, make sure to ask whether that option is a good fit for you or if there’s a reason why it might not be the best option.

A gummy smile doesn’t always have to be a medical issue to warrant getting fixed. Procedures like crowns, veneers, and gingivectomies are minimally invasive and will let your teeth look more proportionate to your teeth. Many people feel insecure about their gummy smiles, but luckily there are quite a few treatment options that can ensure that your gummy smile is a problem of the past. Many of these options are permanent as well, meaning you won’t have to worry about repeated treatment in order to keep your smile looking the way that you want it to.

If you’re in the Chicago, IL area, Westend Dental will be able to help you with your gummy smile treatment options and help you find the right one for you. We look forward to working with you!