Cosmetic Dentistry Options to Improve a Gummy Smile

Gum Contouring And Reshaping San Dimas, CA

Prominent upper gums are fairly common and cause a condition known as a gummy smile. This circumstance occurs when at least four millimeters of gum tissue is visible during a person's smile. Many people feel prominent upper gums make the teeth seem out of proportion and less attractive. There are several cosmetic dentistry choices to treat this type of smile issue.

Less invasive options

There are treatment methods that can be completed in a single office visit and are not extensive procedures. 


Thin porcelain shells bonded to the natural teeth to change their appearance are called veneers. For certain people, prominent gums can be the result of small teeth. Adding veneers to make the teeth look longer can keep the gums from appearing disproportionate.

Gum contouring

A process that gets rid of excess gum tissue around the gum line is known as gum contouring. It is also called gingivoplasty. This procedure is a common solution to a gummy smile. In many cases, a laser can be used to perform the treatment to help it heal faster and reduce the risk of infection. 

More aggressive treatments

Not everyone seeking a solution to prominent gums can take advantage of one of the less intrusive alternatives. There are patients who require more extensive forms of treatment, usually involving surgery.

Gum lifts

A gum lift, also known as a gingivectomy, is a procedure involving an oral surgeon or experienced dentist cutting away portions of the gums. Some people have pockets of diseased tissue in the gums, causing them to look swollen. Removing the decayed tissue not only improves the health of the gums, but it also allows the upper portion of the teeth to become more visible and reduces the prominent appearance of the gums. 

Lip augmentation    

Prominent gums can also be an issue for those with high upper lips. By cutting off a thin piece of tissue and reattaching it in a lower position, the upper lip is able to cover more of the gums. 

Jaw surgery

The most invasive option is jaw surgery. Patients undergoing this type of procedure will need to stay in the hospital and restrict themselves to a liquid diet as they recover. During this type of surgery, the lower jaw is removed, adjusted and reattached in the new position with screws and plates. In order for the jaw to heal properly, it must be wired shut for a period of several weeks. Although it is an extensive procedure, the results will be permanent. Jaw surgery typically does not involve the individual teeth, so chewing should feel relatively normal after the jaw has fully healed.  


A gummy smile can be both a cosmetic consideration and a health concern. Some of the more minor cosmetic matters can be addressed with veneers or gum contouring while more serious health issues and cosmetic irregularities can require surgery. Those wanting to change the appearance of the gums should consult a dental professional to determine the right course of treatment. 

Request an appointment here: or call San Dimas Family and Sedation Dentistry at (909) 740-8294 for an appointment in our San Dimas office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: What Is Gum Contouring in San Dimas, CA.

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