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Gummy smile What is it? How is it corrected?

Although for some it is merely an esthetic concept, gummy smile treatment helps to improve the patient's confidence and self-esteem.

What is the gummy smile?

The gummy smile is also known as a high smile, and it would be a mistake to refer to it as an oral problem.

Basically, it is an esthetic condition, whose main characteristic is the disproportionate exposure of the gum in relation to the teeth.

In particular, some dental studies have shown that beyond the esthetic aspect, there is no dental or osseous deformation that implies other types of problems.

There are several levels of severity observable among patients with gummy smile gummy smile:

  • Mild:
    These are smiles that show between 2 and 4 mm of gingiva.

  • Moderate:
    In this case 4 to 6 mm of gingiva is evident when smiling.

  • Severe:
    The amount of gingiva exposed is between 6 and 8 mm.

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Gummy smile - causes

The causes of gummy smile are diverse, some more common than others.

Short upper lip

First of all, the smile that tucks the upper lip too far upward exposes a large portion of the gums.

Regrown upper jaw

On the other hand, when the upper dental arch grows beyond normal (with a vertical development), not only is a gummy smile produced, but also dental occlusion is affected.

Passive dental eruption

When some alteration occurs during the eruption phase of the teeth, the gums may cover more teeth than normal.

Low position of teeth

This condition occurs when the upper incisors are overdeveloped due to lack of contact with the teeth of the lower arch.


Finally, when the upper arch does not align correctly with the lower jaw, malocclusion can be diagnosed; a common cause of crooked teeth and gummy smile.

Is a gummy smile hereditary?

Undoubtedly, genetics plays a fundamental role in the gummy smile, due to a series of alterations that can be combined (a large jaw, small teeth, among others...). In any case, the gummy smile may be linked to a malformation called hereditary gingival fibromatosis, which causes a progressive enlargement of the gums. Although it is a problem that occurs very slowly, sometimes it ends up being serious, even affecting the individual's ability to speak.

How to correct the gummy smile?

When the severity of the case warrants the intervention of a professional, there are several alternatives of treatment for gummy smile treatment for the gummy smile. Below is a brief description of each of them:

sonrisa gingival 1


A high smile can be treated by means of a surgical intervention called gingivectomy.

Basically, it is an operation in which excess gum tissue is removed under local anesthesia.


While gingivectomy directly intervenes the gums, there is another surgical option for cases in which the upper lip must be corrected.

This consists of performing minor surgery on the levator labii muscle (located between the gum and the upper lip) to weaken it and allow it to drop slightly from its original position.

sonrisa gingival 5
sonrisa gingival 4

Dental veneers

At the same time, dental veneers are an esthetic orthodontic treatment that can be used for this type of patient.

If you are looking to correct your gummy smile, dental veneers can be a great solution when the cause has to do with very small teeth.

In fact, thanks to the placement of dental veneers it is possible to increase the size and volume of teeth.


Finally, when the high smile is due to lip contraction, the problem can be treated with Botox.

Although the effect of this injectable treatment for gingival smile gummy smile does not usually last more than about 3 months, the effect can be extended to about 6 months.

The benefits of this treatment include:

  • Immediate results
  • Without surgery
  • Much faster recovery
  • Quickly achieves smile harmonization effect
sonrisa gingival 3
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