Can You Fix Your Gummy Smile Without Surgery?

If you don't like your smile because you have an excessive gingival display in proportion to your enamel, you may have a gummy smile. Some people with gummy smiles think that they can only correct the problem through major jaw surgery. While jaw surgery can certainly be an option for severe cases, there are other options to consider.

A dentist will want to narrow down the cause of your gummy smile, and you may want to look at minimally invasive procedures first.

Narrowing Down the Cause of Your Gummy Smile

There are many possible causes of gummy smiles. For example, some people have compensatory eruption, meaning that if a person grinds his teeth excessively, then the teeth will naturally have to shift vertically to the opposing teeth to maintain a functional bite. As teeth shift, so does gum tissue. To correct compensatory eruption, your dentist may want to set you up with a mouthguard to limit further tooth wear and build up worn tooth surfaces with restorations. When functional issues are corrected, then the gummy smile may be corrected as well.

As you can see, a patient with compensatory eruption wouldn't necessarily need to jump to surgery right away to fix a gummy smile. Besides compensatory eruption, gummy smiles can be caused by

  • short upper lips or hypermobile lips
  • genetics that cause excess gum tissue
  • overbites
  • delayed tooth eruption

If you and your dentist can understand the root cause of your gummy smile, you'll be better able to explore your treatment options, like orthodontic care.

Considering Minimally Invasive Options

If there isn't an underlying functional issue, your dentist may recommend cosmetic treatments like Botox or crown lengthening to correct a gummy smile.


Instead of altering your gum tissue, a dentist can inject Botox into your upper lip to relax your facial muscles. When you smile, your upper lip will be more relaxed, so less gum tissue will be revealed when you smile. Botox is a great way to disguise a gummy smile because treatments are effective and have minimal side effects. If you are still unhappy with your gum tissue, then Botox can be used in combination with recessive gum surgery to achieve more aesthetic results.

A crown lengthening procedure is an outpatient procedure where a cosmetic dentist or periodontist trims away excess gum tissue to expose more enamel. While you will need a local anesthetic, you won't have to go under anesthesia for this procedure. You may have some soreness and need to follow a special diet as your gums heal, but again, these aftercare effects are a lot easier to handle than major jaw surgery. Crown lengthening can be a great way to eliminate a gummy smile and get a better balance between gum tissue and enamel.

Reach out to a cosmetic dentist for more information.