Q: How do you fix a “gummy smile”?

What our experts say:

It depends. Orthodontically, we can extrude the teeth, which is less invasive. Or we can use laser surgery to remove excess gum. We can enhance their smile by using veneers or crowns to fix the length of their teeth, fix cracks, etc.

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Dr. Swati Agarwal

Cosmetic Dentist

San Francisco, California

There are different ways. If there is excess gum in a healthy tooth (not a periodontally involved tooth), we can use a laser and remove the excess tissue.  (Some dentists use a scalpel, but I use a laser.)  Or, we can move the teeth, if the teeth are too far down in the front and the lip is high, (retrusion). If we push the teeth up, the gum goes with it.  If the tooth is periodontally involved, we sometimes need to cut the gum structure, and sometimes the bone has to be cut as well to improve a gummy smile. We can also lower the lip, if it is too high, by a surgical procedure to bring the lip down, so it will cover the gums. With all the options, we have to look at the individual; there is no one procedure that fits all patients.


Dr. Jason Kasarsky

Cosmetic Dentist

New York, New York

People don’t realize the problem is sometimes the gum and not the teeth. All we have to do is take away a little gum to even the teeth out. Most people don’t know that’s even an option. If you have uneven gums on certain teeth, we can use the laser to remove some of the gum. We have soft tissue lasers that are totally painless with no recovery time.  It’s an in-and-out office procedure. It’s not for everyone, though, you can’t use it if you have a severe case. Also, for a gummy smile, some people have a little frenulum—the piece of skin that connects the lip to the gum between the front teeth. Some people have low one, so we can reattach the lip to the gum a little bit. This could eliminate a gummy smile in a person who has a severe case because it keeps the lip for coming up as much which can hide some of that. It’s a great procedure.


Dr. Irene Grafman

Cosmetic Dentist

New York, New York

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