Gum Contouring

Gum Contouring

Looking to reduce a gummy smile? Our fast-healing gum contouring treatment can help restore the proportions of the teeth to the gum.

Fix too much gum in your smile today

Sometimes, teeth might appear too small because a higher proportion of gum tissue is present, meaning your teeth make less of an impact, making you feel self-conscious about your smile. A gummy smile is usually defined as gum tissue larger than four millimetres or when more than an eighth of an inch of gum tissue shows. Sink your teeth into this page to see how our cosmetic dental experts can contour excess gum tissue safely and effectively…

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Treating a gummy smile

Our cosmetic dentists will need to determine the exact reason why your smile looks gummy.

Understanding what’s causing the issue helps us identify the best course of treatment moving forward. It will also help us determine which kind of dentist to assign to your case, whether it’s a cosmetic dentist, orthodontist, or periodontist.

For example, in some cases where the jaw is the underlying reason for excessive gingival display, we might be able to fix the problem with orthodontics alone. This will shift your bite into the correct position and make the gums appear less prominent.

In other cases, with moderate or severe jaw protrusion, our dentists might recommend orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery), where the jaw will be recontoured to an optimal size.

When too much gum tissue is the main issue, one of our periodontists, like Dr Kaimakamis, will perform a gingivectomy. In this procedure, gum tissue is removed and reshaped to expose more of the underlying tooth.

Choice of Treatments

The thing with gummy smiles is that they look, well, gummy. The teeth and gum tissue look out of harmony, usually in the upper jaw.

But it might not be the gum tissue causing the problem – factors that could be causing your gummy smile might be:

  • Too much gum tissue on display
  • The size and shape of the teeth are too small
  • The length of the upper lip and its movement
  • How the upper jaw is vertically positioned in relation to the skull

If this condition has appeared over the years, it might be caused by excessive tooth wear, which is known to cause changes in the gum-to-tooth ratio.

Laser gum surgery

Typically, for gummy smiles, we offer patients gum contouring treatment, carried out by a specialist who reshapes or resculpts your gumline.

Our laser gum reshaping treatment contours and reshapes the gums to make them appear smaller in proportion to teeth and neater. And whilst this might sound a bit frightening, let us reassure you that it’s a simple procedure often completed in just one dental visit.

Laser gum contouring procedures allow patients to remove extra gum tissue without going under the knife.

Gum lift surgery

When gums cover too much of the teeth, and laser gum lifts are not applicable, we might recommend you undergo a gingivectomy, which involves the removal of excess gum tissue.

The cosmetic procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic, making the procedure painless. After the gums have been numbed, we’ll gently work to refine and reshape your gums to reveal more of the surface of the teeth.

In many instances, a gum contouring procedure like this only takes one appointment. However, our dentists might invite you to come in for a follow-up appointment so that we can assess the results of the surgical gum lift.

Patients worried that they’d be affected by a gummy smile again will be pleased to know that their excess gums will not grow back – making this procedure permanent.

Alternative, faster options

Patients unhappy with their gums and their entire smile can target both problems at once with dental veneers and composite bonding.

Dental veneers help improve the balance between teeth and gums, and as they are tailor-made for your smile, they will conceal the imperfection perfectly.

Some patients can be hesitant about the veneer procedure from what they’ve seen online, in mainstream media and social media. But as a reputable cosmetic dental practice that employs the UK’s most talented and recognised veneer dentists, we’re here to put your mind at ease.

Dental veneers differ from dental crowns and do not require shaving teeth down to pegs to place. Rather, dental veneers are fine porcelain shells that sit on top of the existing tooth and only require the tiniest fraction of enamel to be removed (often only 0.5mm). Depending on the brand of porcelain veneer used, take, for example, Lumineers, which will only require 0.3mm of etching.

Once your veneers have been expertly crafted to suit your new look, they’ll be ready to bond in just one appointment.

However, patients looking for non-permanent options can turn to composite bonding to repair their gummy smile. Using a composite resin material, we can skilfully reshape your teeth in just one visit. Bear in mind, that composite veneers or bonding will not last forever and is more susceptible to chips and breaks than porcelain.

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Pay monthly with 0% interest for amazing, discreet dental solutions that realign your smile. Our recommended cosmetic treatments have left thousands of patients feeling better and more confident about their appearance and how their smile functions.

Defining a gummy smile

A gummy smile does not have one set definition, if anything it’s mainly based on perception. For example, you’ll know a gummy smile when you see one.

During a study on gummy smile perceptions, most subjects only rated the smile attractive when it showed two millimetres or less of gum tissue.

How is a gummy smile caused?

As with most smile problems, there are often a series of factors and causes. In the case of a gummy smile, the most common determining factors are:

  • Teeth appear shorter because they erupted improperly.
  • Teeth did not emerge sufficiently and as a result, remained partially covered by the gum tissue giving the appearance of small or worn teeth and a gummy smile.
  • It’s the teeth that are small in comparison to the gums due to wear or genetics.
  • Hyperactive upper lips lift too high when they smile exposing gum tissue.
  • Gums might be long or enlarged, which is referred to as gingival hypertrophy.
  • Sometimes there’s an overgrowth of the upper jaw, which makes gums bulge out.