Gummy SmilesSome people feel self-conscious about smiling because they believe their gums are too prominent. Though we each have our own definition of what makes a smile beautiful — including how much gum is too much — cosmetic dentists define a smile as “gummy” when 4 millimeters (just over 1/8 of an inch) of gum tissue shows. If your smile looks gummy there can be different reasons for this. It is important to understand the various causes of gummy smiles so you and your cosmetic dentist can work togther to find the best cosmetic dentistry procedures to adjust and enhance your smile.


Gummy smiles can be a side effect produced by issues with your gums, teeth, lip, or jaw. Depending on what area of your mouth is causing the gummy smile, cosmetic dental treatment will differ.

  • Gums

    – If your teeth appear too short in relation to your gums, it could be that they are being covered up by too much gum tissue. Your cosmetic dentist can resolve this problem in our Chanhassen office with a periodontal plastic surgery technique called “crown lengthening,” which involves removing and reshaping the excess tissue to expose the full length of teeth.

  • Teeth

    – Teeth sometimes emerge in the mouth at different heights, some teeth growing in shorter than others. This may add to the gumminess of a smile. To remedy the issue, we recommend a cosmetic dental treatment known as capping or crowning, which involves making shorter teeth appear longer by covering them with thin porcelain veneers. On the same note, you may have a grinding habit that is causing your teeth to get worn down and become shorter over time. This type of grinding may also cause compensatory eruption, in which teeth actually begin to move (or erupt) very slowly outward from the gum to compensate for the wear and maintain a functional bite. These issues can lead to gummy smiles, and many times your cosmetic dentist will recommend you complete orthodontic treatment with our Chanhassen office to move the affected teeth back into the correct position. Afterward, the worn-down teeth can usually be restored with porcelain crowns/veneers as well.

  • Lip

    – On average, your upper lip moves 6 to 8 millimeters from its normal resting position to achieve a full smile. If the lip is hypermobile, meaning it rises much farther up, more gum tissue will be revealed—thus producing a gummy smile. In order to alleviate this type of gummy smile, you’ll need to ensure the muscles that control the lip are modified so they don’t raise it quite so high. Treatment for this issue can range from Botox shots that temporarily paralyze the muscles for about 6 months to surgery that permanently restricts how high the lip can move. The latter is referred to as a lip stabilization procedure.

  • Jaw

    – Sometimes the upper jaw (maxilla) is too long for the face, a condition referred to as Vertical Maxillary Excess. If you are experiencing this oral-facial condition, your jaw will need to be repositioned with orthognathic surgery (“ortho” – straighten; “gnathos” – jaw). Of all the cosmetic dental treatments highlighted above, this is the most complex procedure, however, when performed by your trusted Chanhassen cosmetic dentist it can yield amazing results!

Contact Your Chanhassen Cosmetic Dentist

If you would like more information on how to improve your gummy smile, please contact our Chanhassen, MN office to schedule your consultation with a cosmetic dentist. You can also find more information with regards to selecting the right dental treatment for your gummy smile on our blog.