Why Do My Gums Show When I Smile: Unveiling the Mystery Behind a Gummy Smile

Do you often find yourself showing more gums than teeth when you smile? If so, you may have what’s commonly referred to as a gummy smile. The perception of gummy smiles varies from person to person, and while some embrace this unique feature, others may wish to uncover the reasons behind it. Fear not, as we’re here to shed some light on this matter and explore possible solutions.

3 Things That Can Cause a Gummy Smile

The appearance of a gummy smile can be attributed to several factors. While some are inherited and beyond our control, others can be prevented through proper dental care. Let’s delve into the three most common causes of a gummy smile.

A Bad Bite

One possible cause of a gummy smile is a bad bite, which is often inherited. A misalignment between the upper and lower jaw can lead to various problems, including jaw pain, crooked teeth, and, yes, a gummy smile. Typically, when the upper jaw protrudes more than it should, it results in excessive gum exposure.

Hyperactive Upper Lip

Another culprit behind gummy smiles is a hyperactive upper lip, which is also influenced by genetics. When the muscles in the upper lip and under the nose are overly active, the lip tends to rise, exposing gum tissue more prominently.

Too Much Gum Tissue

The most common cause of a gummy smile is simply having an excess of gum tissue. Sometimes, during the eruption of permanent teeth, the growth of gum tissue surpasses the ideal amount, resulting in a gummy appearance. However, it’s important to note that gum infection can mimic the appearance of excess gum tissue. In such cases, maintaining good oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, can prevent this cause of a gummy smile.

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Fixing a Gummy Smile

The approach to fixing a gummy smile depends on the underlying cause. Treatment options are tailored to each individual, considering the root issue. Here are some common procedures used to address gummy smiles.

Scaling & Root Planing

When a gummy smile is caused by inflamed and infected gums, a thorough dental cleaning known as scaling and root planing is often recommended. This procedure involves removing bacteria from deep gum pockets around each tooth, leading to the healing of infection and reduction of gum inflammation and appearance.

Gum Lift or Crown Lengthening

If excessive gum tissue is the cause of a gummy smile, a gum lift or crown lengthening procedure may be the ideal solution. In a gum lift, the excess gum tissue around the teeth is carefully removed, reshaping the gum line to showcase more of the teeth. Alternatively, crown lengthening not only modifies the gum structure but also involves changing the bone around the teeth.

Lip Lowering

Contrary to its name, lip lowering does not physically lower the upper lip. Instead, a small section of the gum tissue beneath the upper lip is removed, and the top and bottom are stitched together, creating the illusion of a shorter lip. This adjustment restricts the ability of the upper lip to rise excessively, minimizing gum exposure and reducing the gummy smile’s appearance.


Orthodontic treatments, such as braces or clear aligners like Invisalign or ClearCorrect, can effectively tackle a gummy smile, especially if it stems from a bad bite. Aligning the teeth correctly can minimize the amount of gum tissue visible when smiling, laughing, or talking. Additionally, orthodontics can address other dental issues like jaw pain.

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If you’re bothered by your gummy smile and wish to explore ways to enhance your appearance, consider scheduling a consultation with your dentist in Mt Pleasant. Together, you and your dental team can determine the most suitable treatment option to achieve the smile you desire.

Remember, your smile is unique and beautiful in its own way. Embrace your gummy smile, or take steps to confidently showcase a smile that truly represents you.

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