A radiant smile is often considered one of our most attractive features. However, for some individuals, an excessive display of gum tissue when smiling—commonly known as a “gummy smile”—can be a source of self-consciousness. Today, we’ll explore the concept of a gummy smile, its impact on confidence, and the various cosmetic options available to help you achieve the smile you’ve always desired.

Understanding a Gummy Smile

A gummy smile, medically termed excessive gingival display, occurs when a disproportionate amount of gum tissue is visible above the upper teeth when smiling. While there’s no strict definition, many dental professionals consider a smile “gummy” when more than 3-4 millimeters of gum tissue is exposed.

Several factors can contribute to a gummy smile:

  1. Genetics: Some people naturally have a higher lip line or shorter upper lip, revealing more gum tissue when smiling.
  2. Overgrowth of gum tissue: This can be due to certain medications or health conditions.
  3. Excessive wear of teeth: This can make teeth appear shorter, creating the illusion of more gum tissue.
  4. Improper eruption of teeth: When teeth don’t fully emerge from the gums, they can appear shorter.
  5. Overactive upper lip muscles: This can cause the upper lip to rise higher when smiling.

While a gummy smile doesn’t typically pose health risks, it can significantly impact self-esteem and confidence. Many patients with gummy smiles feel self-conscious about their appearance, which can affect their social interactions and overall quality of life.

Gum Contouring: Reshaping Your Smile

One of the most effective treatments for a gummy smile is gum contouring, also known as gum reshaping or crown lengthening. This procedure involves carefully removing excess gum tissue to expose more of the tooth surface, creating a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing smile.

Benefits of gum contouring include:

  • Improved smile aesthetics
  • Enhanced tooth-to-gum ratio
  • Increased confidence in your appearance
  • Potential improvement in oral hygiene (by reducing deep gum pockets)

During the procedure, our experienced periodontists use advanced techniques to carefully sculpt your gum line. We typically use local anesthesia to ensure your comfort throughout the process. The procedure is relatively quick, often completed in a single visit, with minimal downtime.

After gum contouring, you can expect some minor swelling and sensitivity for a few days. Our team will provide detailed aftercare instructions to ensure optimal healing and results.

Crown Lengthening: Revealing Your Best Smile

Crown lengthening is another effective option for addressing a gummy smile. This procedure not only removes excess gum tissue but also reshapes the underlying bone to expose more of the tooth crown.

Crown lengthening is particularly beneficial when:

  • Teeth appear too short due to excessive gum coverage
  • There’s a need to expose more tooth structure for restorative work (like crowns or veneers)
  • You desire a more dramatic change in your smile’s appearance

The procedure involves making small incisions in the gum tissue to access the underlying bone. Our skilled periodontists then carefully contour both the gum tissue and bone to achieve the desired tooth exposure. While more involved than simple gum contouring, crown lengthening can provide dramatic and long-lasting results.

Recovery from crown lengthening typically takes a few weeks. During this time, we’ll provide comprehensive care instructions to ensure proper healing and minimize any discomfort.

Advanced Surgical Options

For patients with more complex gum issues, we offer advanced surgical options that can significantly improve both the health and appearance of your smile.

Ridge Augmentation

Ridge augmentation is a procedure that rebuilds the alveolar ridge, the bony structure that contains the tooth sockets. This can be particularly beneficial if you’ve experienced bone loss due to tooth extraction or gum disease.

The procedure involves adding bone graft material to the deficient area, which over time integrates with your natural bone to create a fuller, more aesthetic gum line. This can dramatically improve the appearance of a gummy smile, especially in cases where bone loss has altered the overall structure of the smile.

Gum Grafting

Gum grafting is another advanced technique that can address both aesthetic and health concerns. This procedure is particularly useful for patients who have experienced gum recession, which can make teeth appear longer and create an uneven gum line.

During a gum graft, we take a small amount of tissue (either from your palate or a donor source) and carefully attach it to the areas of recession. This not only improves the appearance of your smile but also protects the exposed tooth roots, reducing sensitivity and the risk of decay.

Both ridge augmentation and gum grafting are more involved procedures that require a longer recovery period. However, they can provide significant improvements in both the health and appearance of your smile.

Choosing the Right Treatment for You

Selecting the best treatment for your gummy smile depends on several factors:

  • The extent of gum display
  • The underlying cause of your gummy smile
  • Your overall oral health
  • Your aesthetic goals

At Pinnacle Center – Dental Implants & Periodontics, we believe in a personalized approach to treatment. During your consultation, Dr. Roll or Dr. Williams will thoroughly examine your smile, discuss your concerns and goals, and recommend the most appropriate treatment options for your unique situation.

We may suggest combining treatments for optimal results. For example, gum contouring might be paired with orthodontic treatment to address both gum display and tooth alignment issues.

Your Path to a Confident Smile Starts Here

A gummy smile doesn’t have to hold you back from showing off your best self. With the range of cosmetic options available at Pinnacle Center – Dental Implants & Periodontics, we can help you achieve the balanced, confident smile you’ve always wanted.

Our team of experienced periodontists, led by Dr. Roll and Dr. Williams, is dedicated to providing exceptional care in a comfortable, state-of-the-art environment. We use the latest techniques and technologies to ensure optimal results with minimal discomfort and downtime.

Don’t let a gummy smile affect your confidence any longer. Take the first step towards your dream smile by scheduling a consultation with us today. We’re excited to help you explore your options and create a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and goals.

Contact Pinnacle Center – Dental Implants & Periodontics now to schedule your appointment. Your journey to a more confident, radiant smile starts here!


Visit our office in Pittsburgh, Two Minutes From The Mall At Robinson!!

6200 Steubenville Pike Suite 201
McKees Rocks, PA 15136

Office Hours:

Monday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Tuesday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Wednesday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Thursday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Friday: Closed

call us