If you have a gummy smile, one that shows a large portion of your gums whenever you smile or laugh, you’re already all too familiar with the difficulties that come with showing too much of your gums. It can make you self-conscious when you talk or laugh and cause you to hold back from overly expressing yourself.

If a gummy smile is causing you distress, there are several solutions to address the concern, and they’re all minimally invasive. Read on for everything you need to know about the reasons behind a gummy smile and the various treatment options available. 

What is a gummy smile? 

A “gummy smile” is a term used to describe an excessive exposure of the gums when you smile. This condition is diagnosed medically when more than 2mm of gum becomes visible while smiling. This is a common problem which is often attributed to gum tissue overgrowth, though jaw positioning and development also play a part. People with a gummy smile may feel that their gums look too big or prominent when they smile. It may cause your smile to look uneven or wonky or make the teeth appear disproportionately smaller than they are. Often, a gummy smile coincides with a high lip line and a short upper lip too.

What causes a gummy smile?

There are a variety of causes of a gummy smile, from jaw and tooth development issues to prominent teeth. Usually, the condition behind a gummy smile is genetic, so it’s not possible to prevent it.

What is the best treatment for a gummy smile?

There are several treatments for gummy smiles and which one is right for you will depend on the severity of the gum exposure and what underlying causes there are.


Botox is one of the most popular procedures for dealing with hiding gum tissue. Occasionally, a gummy smile is caused by the muscle that controls the movement of your upper lip being “hyperactive”, which causes your upper lip to sit higher up than normal, therefore exposing more of your gum tissue when you smile. To address this, Botox is injected on either side of the nostrils, to stop the “elevator” muscles there pulling the top lip up too far, effectively dropping it a few millimetres so your gums aren’t exposed when you smile. Alternatively, a few tiny drops in the lip line stop your top lip “rolling in” and disappearing. It can take up to two weeks after treatment for the full result to be visible. It’s important to note that this is a specialist technique and should be performed by an experienced, medical practitioner.

Facial fillers

In some cases, lip fillers can improve the appearance of a gummy smile if the top lip is positioned too high and is thin, leading to more exposure of the gums than if the lip was fuller. In this case subtle enhancement and balancing of the upper lip can greatly improve the appearance of a gummy smile. We can also use fillers in the cheeks and nasolabial folds to affect other elevator muscles of the face which can become overactive. Depending on where filler is placed, above or below muscles can make them stronger or weaker through mechanical myomodulation.

How do injectables compare to surgical options when addressing a gummy smile?

Surgical gummy smile treatment options usually involve removing excess gum tissue through a combination of cutting, reshaping, and laser treatment to balance and enhance your smile. Depending on the type of surgery that is right for you, the procedure may involve general anaesthesia and downtime whilst the area heals. Botox and dermal fillers are the least invasive and most immediate way of dealing with a gummy smile. It’s a quick and painless treatment and can also be a great way to test out what the result may look like before undergoing more invasive surgery.

If you’d like to learn more about the options, click here to enquire or to book a consultation with an expert practitioner.