Gummy smile

Holding back your smile is an uncomfortable but common experience for people with a gummy smile. Moments of genuine laughter lead to anxiety and embarrassment thinking about how your gummy smile looks.

If you’re concerned about your gummy smile, there are options. Take the first step to smiling like you mean it.

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Cause & concerns

Strong smile muscles

The primary cause of a gummy smile is overactive muscles that pull your top lip up when you smile: levator labii superioris, levator labii superioris alaequae nasi and zygomaticus minor. This type of gummy smile is often genetic, meaning it is inherited from your biological parents.

Small lips

Small lips can contribute to a gummy smile. When people with thinner lips smile, there is less lip tissue covering their gums, causing more gum to be visible.

Excess gum tissue

Also known as gingival hyperplasia, excessive gum tissue growth causes an increase in visible gum when you smile.

Long upper jaw bone

Vertical maxillary excess, or a long upper jaw, causes your upper teeth to sit too low. When you smile your lip muscles function normally, but more gum tissue is visible because the bone is out of alignment.

Small teeth

While small teeth do not actually contribute to a gummy smile, they change the teeth to gum ratio of your smile.

The smaller your teeth, the larger the percentage of your smile is taken up by your gum tissue

Treatment Options

Gummy smile injections

Gummy smile injections relax hyperactive smile muscles. They are a highly effective way to limit how much your tip lip elevates when smiling, ensuring less gum tissue is visible.

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Lip augmentation & fillers

Lip fillers add fullness to your lips.

When smiling, this means you have more lip tissue covering your gums.

It’s ideal for people with a gummy smile who also have small lips.

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Lip flip

A lip flip relaxes the muscles of your top lip. This limits how much your top lip thins when you smile, allowing it to better cover your gum tissue.

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Upper jaw surgery

Surgery is typically required for gummy smiles caused by a long upper jaw.

It is invasive and has extensive downtime, so is generally reserved for severe cases that don’t respond to conservative measures.

Laser gum removal

Removing gum tissue is an option for people with gingival hyperplasia.

While effective, many people prefer gummy smile injections due to their ease and convenience.

Veneers & dental implants

Cosmetic dentistry is the treatment option for small teeth, but causes irreversible damage.

Before & after

Sensitive content

Before and 2 weeks after gummy smile injections to relax strong smile muscles.

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    A gummy smile it where too much gum tissue is visible above your top teeth when you smile.

    Some people believe slight gummy smiles are an attractive facial feature. However severe gummy smiles are generally believed to be unattractive by most people.

    Whether a gummy smile is attractive depends on the person’s facial structure, and their aesthetic preferences.

    Most studies define a gummy smile as having at least 3-4mm of visible gum tissue. However this does not consider other proportions like lip gum, and teeth size, and or personal aesthetic preferences.

    A gummy smile has 4 main causes:

    • Strong upper lip elevating muscles
    • A long upper jaw bone (maxilla)
    • Excessive gum tissue
    • Thin lips

    Braces may both cause and fix a gummy smile. As there are different reasons why too much gum can be visible when smiling, any change in the structure and position of your teeth can affect this.

    Gummy smile injections use botulinum toxin to weaken the muscles that elevate your top lip when you smile.

    This means when smiling, your top lip won’t pull up as much, ensuring your gum tissue remains hidden.

    Injections for a gummy smile typically last 3-4 months depending on the dose and how often they’re done.

    Higher, more frequent doses generally last longer, sometimes up to 6 months.

    Yes, lip fillers improve a gummy smile caused by small lips.

    Increasing the fullness of your lips means that when smiling more of your gum tissue is covered.

    Lip fillers used to treat a gummy smile typically last 12-24 months.

    A lip flip is an effective way to treat a gummy smile caused by top lip thinning when smiling.

    It works by relaxing the obicularis oris muscle of your top lip.

    This muscle contributes to the ‘curling in’ of your top lip when you smile. Relaxing it with a lip flip preserves some upper lip fullness, which covered your gum tissue when smiling.

    The results from a lip flip used to treat a gummy smile generally last 3 months for most people.

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