What is known as a "gummy smile"?

gummy smile

La sonrisa es uno de los rasgos más característicos de cada persona. Todos sonreímos de una manera diferente. Sin embargo, un aspecto de la sonrisa que en un principio no tendría por qué suponer ningún problema de salud, a veces no resulta del todo estético. Un ejemplo de ello es lo que se conoce como sonrisa gingival.

When the gums show more than usual when smiling, it can be a serious problem for those affected. This characteristic is not incompatible with excellent oral health, but whenever desired, the gummy smile has an easy solution.

What is the gummy smile?

A gummy smile is one that shows more gum than usual when smiling. Although each person may have a different perception, it is generally considered that the proportion of gum that should be shown when smiling is about 3-4 mm in the case of women, and 2 mm in men, to be considered as a gummy smile.

Showing a greater proportion of gum above the teeth line when smiling can be a very attractive feature, or also a complex for others. It is more common in women, being more accepted among the female population, although the treatments to correct it are usually applied equally in both sexes.

Why do I show so much gum? Reasons for the gummy smile

There are multiple reasons why a person may show a gummy smile as a feature of their mouth. Knowing the reason why more gum shows when smiling helps professionals to find the most appropriate aesthetic treatment.

The main causes of a gummy smile include the following:

  • Upper jaw advanced, or with a greater length in relation to the position of the lower jaw.
  • Altered passive eruption on the teeth, so that part of the gum covers more of the surface of the dental crown.
  • Over-eruption of the upper incisors, overgrowing due to lack of contact with the lower teeth.
  • Shorter upper lip, or lip that rises more when smiling.
  • Shortening of the teeth due to wear, making them appear shorter in relation to the gum.

The appearance of the gummy smile usually occurs during childhood and adolescence, but it appears mainly in adulthood.

The most common causes are usually overeruption of the teeth or a low dental position, which are easily treated through orthodontics, and sometimes also with a very simple reconstructive surgery.

How is a gummy smile corrected?

As we have already mentioned, the correction of the gummy smile consists of an aesthetic treatment that aims to achieve a more balanced smile. There are many different types of treatments, and the choice of one or another will depend on the origin of the problem, whether it is dental, skeletal or muscular.

As long as the shape of the smile is not affected by any associated pathology such as an open bite or a sunken jaw, it will be much easier to treat.


This is the most common surgical intervention for the treatment of the gummy smile. It consists of an outpatient operation, which is performed under local anesthesia to remove excessive gum tissue covering the tooth.

In just a few minutes, the gum that covers the crown of the tooth is trimmed, enlarging the size of the tooth by uncovering the tooth surface.

Orthognathic surgery

When the cause of the gummy smile is an excessively long upper jaw, it is possible to perform an operation known as orthognathic surgery.

This procedure is performed under general anesthesia, in which the specialist surgeon places the bones of the face in a suitable position, moving the jawbone upwards to shorten the gum.


To correct overeruption of the teeth, the simplest and most effective remedy is orthodontics. It may take a little longer, but it is much less aggressive for the gums.

Simply placing the upper incisors in the correct position would be enough to reposition the gum, which would be less exposed at the moment of smiling.


Achieving an aesthetically perfect smile is possible thanks to new treatments that improve the appearance of the upper lip. A technique widely used today to avoid overexposure of the gums is hyaluronic acid injections to add volume to the lip.

Botox on the other hand is usually used when a gummy smile is shown due to a lip that pulls up too much when smiling. Botulinum toxin prevents the lip muscle from pulling too much, showing just the right amount of gum.

Dental crowns or veneers

Finally, it is worth mentioning a highly effective dental treatment to correct the wear of teeth that look shorter in comparison to the gum. The placement of veneers or implantation of dental crowns modifies the size and appearance of the tooth, with a better balance of the smile.

It should not be forgotten that these gummy smile treatments are purely aesthetic, and in any case it is necessary to take care of the health of the gums so that they look healthy. There is no prettier smile than one that shows pink gums and white teeth, and this starts with good oral hygiene.


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