When too much gum shows | Treatment options

Too much gum shows in smile

This patient came into our office for a second opinion. She had been sent in by her general dentist to do a veneer on her right front tooth before her wedding. Too much gum showed in her smile and she asked us if there was anything that could be done. She also had some spaces between her teeth and was open to suggestions. She was so excited to finally hear that there were good solutions to improving her smile.  Her husband asked us to work with her dentist in Denver so that she could have a smile that really looked appealing. She eventually did have a gum lift and 4 porcelain veneers done to close the spaces. We never got to see how her finished smile looked but we have other gummy smile cases similar to this one.


When too much gum shows in your smile, there are several treatment options available. Current estimates indicate that up to seven percent of men and fourteen percent of women have excessive amounts of gum tissue or smiles that appear “gummy.” Excess gum tissue creates a disproportionate appearance of a patient’s smile by covering more of the tooth than necessary. Gummy smiles often make teeth appear smaller than they should. If you have a gummy smile, your self confidence is likely affected.

Possible causes too much gum shows

Many factors contribute to gummy smiles. In some cases, jawbone deformities cause the appearance of excessive gingival display. If your upper jaw developed a protrusion, your gums and teeth would appear disproportionate. A gummy smile may also be caused by abnormal eruption of the teeth. Treating and improving the appearance of a smile when too much gum shows largely depends on the cause of excessive gingival display.

Other Factors that Contribute to the Appearance of a Smile

  • Facial muscles
  • Short upper lip
  • Lip shape or size
  • Tooth size or shape

Correcting Excessive Gums

before and after gum lift

Before and after example of treatment for a gummy smile

One of the go-to corrective methods when too much gum shows is crown lengthening. Crown lengthening is also called a gum lift which simply raises the gum line. This periodontal plastic surgery is done by a gum specialist. With this treatment, the doctor will remove some of the extra gum tissue showing from your teeth. A periodontist is frequently asked to do this gum contouring surgery prior to cosmetic dental treatment. This exposes the appropriate crown length to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

Furthermore, some patients can receive orthodontic treatment to correct their misaligned smile and excessive gums. To learn more about the treatment types, ask Dr. Fondriest to discuss those details with you during your next dental visit.

Problems when too much tissue is removed with a gum lift

The two main problems when too much tissue is removed are:

  1. Loss of bone support for the teeth
  2. Loss of gum from between the teeth

Treatment options when too much gum shows

An attractive smile should display very little gum tissue. For patients with excessive gum tissue or the appearance of a gummy smile, there are many treatment options. Treatment ranges from using soft tissue lasers to remove excess gum tissue to jawbone reconstruction. Patients with excessive gingival display may have malocclusions as well.

If you are embarrassed or feel self conscious because too much gum shows in your smile, consider discussing your concerns with Dr. James Fondriest. After evaluating your smile, Dr. Fondriest will recommend which treatment option is best for your needs. Dr. Fondriest works with a team of specialists and dedicated professionals who can address and correct the causes of excessive gingival display. To schedule an appointment, contact our Chicago dentist’s office at (847) 234-0517. We serve patients from the neighboring Chicago communities.