Gummy Smiles

In a normal smile the top of your teeth should be just about where your lip sits, but some people who have a higher than normal lip line can often reveal more of their upper gum. This can create an imbalanced look which exposes much more gum than teeth and is known as a ‘gummy smile’. Many find this ‘gummy smile’ aesthetically displeasing and many patients with higher lip lines avoid smiling because they find their smile unflattering. Fortunately, there’s no need to be self conscious as there’s more treatment options for gummy smiles than ever before.


Traditionally there was only one way to correct a gummy smile, by undergoing expensive orthognathic surgery. This complex surgery meant hospitalisation and lots of discomfort for the patient. Fortunately, due to recent innovations there’s a number of things which can now be done to correct gummy smiles. There’s two main ways to correct gums which are highly visible, by either raising up the upper front teeth or lowering the lip itself. For those patients who have an excess of gum tissue covering their teeth, a simple re-contouring procedure can be performed which will help reveal a better portion of the front teeth. For some patients veneers may be used in conjunction with this procedure. If you have opted for the lip lowering procedure then first you’ll meet with your dentist to have a thorough examination and to detail the areas which you’re unhappy with. The surgery itself is performed under a local anesthetic, meaning you will be conscious throughout. The first step is to make a careful group of incisions into the connecting tissue between the lips and the gums. Incisions such as these are usually made exclusively inside the lips so that no marks of signs of scarring appear on your outer lip. The vertical movement of your upper lip will be limited, which will keep the lip as close to your teeth as possible. The second way to correct a gummy smile is to raise the front teeth, but this involves complicated orthognathic surgery and so it’s generally only used in severe cases.

Recovery and Aftercare

There’s little recovery time involved in the lip lowering procedure and most patients experience only minimal discomfort. There’s very few risks involved in the lip lowering procedure and whilst the enhancement varies from case to case, the majority of patients are satisfied with the results. Although the lip lowering procedure won’t cause any dramatic changes to your lips appearance, it will help to manage the height at which your upper lips lift when you smile.

Learn more when you visit Sunnyvale Dental Care. Call Sunnyvale Dentist Dr. Nasser Antonious at 408-720-0900/ TOLL-FREE 1-877-9DENTAL to schedule a consultation today!