Gummy Smile – Is Too Much Gum Showing an Issue?

Gum Contouring And Reshaping San Dimas, CA

There are several reasons someone might have a gummy smile. For certain people, it is merely a cosmetic preference and not a health risk if left alone. In other cases, treatment is required in order to keep the gums and teeth healthy. Here are a few causes of prominent gums to consider when trying to decide if too much gum showing is an issue. 


Many people with excessive gum tissue are genetically predisposed to the condition. The following are examples of prominent gums caused by genetics:

  • Partial or improper eruption
  • Small teeth
  • Short upper lip
  • Overgrown upper jaw
  • Hyperactive upper lip

For patients with one of these conditions, corrective procedures are typically optional and mainly done for aesthetic purposes. Advances in treatment options have made some solutions, like gum contouring, much less painful and invasive, and fixing prominent gums does not have to be an invasive process. 

Medical condition

A gummy smile can occasionally be the result of a health issue, in which case, it can be cause for concern. 

Side effect from medication

Certain medications, including prescription seizure medication, immunosuppressant drugs, and even popular blood pressure pills, can cause gum overgrowth and swelling. This can be an extremely inconvenient challenge because the easiest solution is generally to stop taking the medication. This obviously presents an entirely different set of issues, as the original condition still needs to be addressed. In the event the gums begin to change shape or size, it can be a good idea to alert a dental professional to any medications involved before deciding on a course of treatment. 


Gingival enlargement occurs when the number of gum cells increases and is known as gingival hyperplasia. It can also take place when the individual existing gum cells begin to enlarge, a condition called gingival hypertrophy. In addition to being a side effect from medication, these issues can also be the result of poor oral hygiene or systemic causes. Conditions such as pregnancy and hormonal imbalance can trigger gum inflammation. Swelling can also be caused by diseases such as leukemia, diabetes, lymphoma, HIV, and anemia.

An accumulation of food and bacteria on the teeth can lead to a buildup of plaque, one of the primary causes of swollen gums. This can be the easiest cause to address. If the inflammation is caught early, the treatment is typically swift and minor. Daily brushing and flossing could be all that is required to improve this condition. In the event the swelling is caused by medication or disease, more aggressive procedures, including surgery, may be necessary. It can also be important to realize gum swelling can be a recurring condition.


While a gummy smile can be an issue, it can also be the result of genetics, and treatment can simply a matter of personal preference. In the event gums begin to swell suddenly, there can be cause for concern as it can signify other serious underlying medical conditions. Consulting a dental professional quickly can be a wise course of action. 

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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