Soft Tissue Procedures

Gummy Smile

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 Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections.  Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and thus improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.

Causes of a Gummy Smile

  1. Delayed Eruption- Excessive display of gum tissue over the upper front teeth can result from abnormal eruption of the teeth. Teeth covered by excessive gum tissue appear short, even though they may actually be the proper length.
  2. Poor Oral Hygiene- This is especially seen with individuals who are in braces with poor oral hygiene. The gum tissues begin to enlarge and grow over the braces. If not managed in the early stages, it can become chronic and will need to be surgically removed.
  3. Hypermobile Upper Lip- When the upper lip moves up higher than normal. When this occurs, the teeth and excessive gum tissue is exposed.
  4. Vertical Maxillary Excess- The manner in which your jaw bone grew and developed could cause the appearance of a gummy smile.

Gummy Smile Treatments

  1. Esthetic Crown Lengthening- This procedure involves reshaping the gum tissues and, at times, the bone to achieve clinical crown length of teeth and gum symmetry. This procedure is used for delayed eruption and excessive gum tissue as the result of poor oral hygiene.
  2. Lip Repositioning- This procedure is considered for cases with lip hypermobility exposing excessive gum tissue when smiling.
  3. This surgical procedure involves repositioning the upper lip to reduce gingival display (gummy smile). The procedure restricts the elevator lip muscles by shortening the space of the back side of the upper lip and the front part of the upper jaw (vestibule).
  4. Vertical Maxillary Excess- The is usually corrected by orthognathic surgery with an oral surgeon.


If you have any questions about gummy smiles, please ask your periodontist.