By David A. Citek DDS
February 03, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Gum Surgery   Gummy Smiles  

A gummy smile, or what dentists call an "excessive gingival display" can be distressing to the person who has one. When smiling, the individual's lips are raised well above the teeth, revealing too much gum tissue. The result is embarrassment and a lack of self-confidence in one's appearance.

What causes a gummy smile?

Dentists say that the optimal smile scenario is when as little gum tissue as possible shows above the teeth. This ideally amounts to 2 millimeters of tissue. More than 3 to 4 millimeters, or about one-eighth of an inch of gums, is likely to be too much and result in a gummy smile.

The causes of excessive gingival display are many, including:

  • teeth that have not fully erupted and appear short
  • teeth that are simply small in size
  • too much gum tissue
  • an upper jaw bone that is too lengthy
  • a short upper lip that pulls back too far from the teeth and gums when smiling

How a gummy smile can be corrected?

It is a good idea to consult a dentist who is highly expert in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. He will carefully evaluate the individual's teeth, bone structure, gums and facial muscles to determine how best to achieve a smile that the patient is confident in showing. Procedures include:

  1. Cosmetic Botox injections to the upper lip can inhibit facial movement so that the lip does not expose so much gum tissue. The injections last approximately six months.
  2. Surgical correction of the upper jaw permanently shortens the bone and changes its position in relation to the rest of the face and most importantly, to the smile.
  3. Veneers attached to the front surfaces of the teeth can make them appear longer and show less of the gums.
  4. Crown lengthening surgery removes extra gum tissue and bone to lengthen the exposed portions of the teeth. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) states that this procedure also helps in maintaining good oral health.

David A. Citek, DDS has been providing a wide range of restorative, cosmetic and preventative dental services to patients in the Houston, Texas area for more than 25 years. A Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, Dr. Citek places a high priority helping each patient achieve excellent dental health and a great looking smile. Is the appearance of your gums and teeth a concern for you? Call Dr. Citek's helpful staff arrange for an appointment: 713-943-2506.


Houston, TX Family & Cosmetic Dentist
Lee Bui, DDS
10126 Thermon Street
Houston, TX 77075
(713) 943-2506