Gummy Smile: An Overview Of The Cosmetic Dental Condition

Posted on: 20 August 2015

It's estimated that up to 14% of women and 7% of men have what is known as a gummy smile, medically referred to as gingival hyperplasia. While the condition isn't cause for concern, it can certainly make sufferers self-conscious about their smile, and many with the condition seek the help of their dentist for treatment. Below is an outline of the condition and how a cosmetic dentist can help you to get a smile you love.


The majority of causes surrounding gingival hyperplasia are genetic. Small teeth, excessive gum tissue, and even a short upper lip can all be inherited traits that can lead to this condition, causing a smile that has a higher ratio of gum to teeth.  

For those cases that aren't genetic, it seems that improper tooth eruption plays a large role. Your teeth may be of average size, and your gum tissue may be of average quantity, but incomplete or otherwise improper eruption of the teeth can cause a gummy-looking smile.

Common Treatment Options

The cause of your gummy smile will have an impact on the treatment pursued, so your dentist may give a thorough evaluation, as well as refer you out to a specialist in gums, called a periodontist or a specialist in tooth eruption, referred to as an orthodontist.

If excess gum tissue is the issue, for example, laser treatment may be all that is needed to remove the excess tissue and give your mouth the 'proper' tooth to gum ratio. If, however, you have an average amount of gum tissue but your teeth didn't properly erupt, braces may be the treatment option recommended, as this will help to align your teeth, giving them the chance to fully erupt and settle.

Should Treatment Always Be Pursued?

Whether or not treatment is pursued is a personal matter, but one that your dentist may be able to help you with.

The individuals who seek treatment for gummy smiles usually do so for cosmetic reasons. There's nothing unhealthy about a gummy smile, as long as the gums and teeth are properly being cared for. If you feel that your smile is negatively impacting your life, you may want to consider treatment options available to you and determine whether treatment will give you the smile you want. Your dentist can help you through this process by finding the cause and talking you through the options that may work for you.

If you suspect you have gingival hyperplasia and would like to learn about treatment options available to you, consult with a dentist, like Kevin J Owoc.