What Causes a Gummy Smile & How To Fix It

Treatment from Beim Orthodontics isn’t always about aesthetics, but the cosmetic side of what we do plays a significant role in your decision to get braces. In the world of orthodontics, it’s no surprise that we meet many people who are unhappy with the look of their smiles. One of the most common issues we hear about is a gummy smile, where more of your gums show when you grin than you’re happy with. If this sounds like you, Dr. Beim wants you to know there is a solution. Keep reading to learn what causes a gummy smile and how to fix it. 

So, what is a gummy smile?

So much of our human perception of attractiveness is based on facial proportions, and gummy smiles are no different. Although attraction is relative, you may feel less confident if a disproportionate amount of your gums are showing compared to your teeth when you smile. 

Studies have shown that an ideal smile shows off two millimeters or less of your gumline. If you have an excessive gingival display (EGD), your smile may reveal closer to three or four millimeters of your gums, and this may cause you to feel self-conscious about your appearance. 

However, if you just found yourself looking in the mirror with a ruler to find out just how much of your gums are showing, remember that the real answer lies in how you feel about your smile. Gummy grins are usually cosmetic issues, so seeking treatment comes down to how you feel about your smile, not the measurement of your gums. 

What causes it?

If you’re worried about a gummy smile, you aren’t alone. Approximately 14% of women and 7% of men have EGD, and various factors can cause this cosmetic issue. You may have a shorter or more hyperactive upper lip that causes more of your gums to become visible when you smile. Less common reasons for EGD include gingival overgrowth, an altered passive eruption of the teeth, or short clinical crowns – all of which are fancy terms for how your facial bones grow in proportion to the rest of your face and mouth. 

What Causes a Gummy Smile & How To Fix It

Can Beim Orthodontics fix my gummy smile? 

Yes! Our team can diagnose a gummy smile and help you find the best way to address the issue. Here are a few EGD solutions. 

Orthodontic Treatment

Sometimes gummy smiles are a result of a bad bite or jaw misalignment. When treating these underlying dental problems, you can reduce the gums that show when you say cheese! At Beim Orthodontics, we offer three orthodontic solutions for patients of all ages. 

Clear Aligners: This treatment option uses a series of clear plastic trays that gradually shift your smile in line over time. Rather than using the bulky brackets and wires of traditional braces, Invisalign and Spark clear aligners straighten your teeth almost invisibly, so you can enjoy the perks of a beautiful grin even while undergoing treatment. Invisalign and Spark are excellent options for patients with mild to moderate orthodontic issues, and treatment can take as little as six months to complete. 

Metal Braces: Metal braces are our most popular treatment method, and they’re probably the first method that comes to mind when you think about orthodontics. Metal braces are a heavy-duty method for fixing moderate to severe orthodontic issues. Traditional braces straighten your smile over 12-36 months using a system of brackets and wires. 

Clear Braces: Like metal braces, clear braces use brackets and wires to align your smile. However, unlike traditional braces, clear braces use white ceramic brackets that blend in with the natural color of your teeth for a less noticeable treatment. Clear braces are an excellent option for patients who want a more discreet treatment plan with the same strength as metal braces. 


A gingivectomy, or crown-lengthening procedure, is a minimally-invasive surgical method that reduces your gum line by removing some of the gum tissue from the tops of your teeth. This treatment reveals more of the bone so that your teeth look longer and your gums appear smaller in proportion. 

Veneers or Crowns

For patients who don’t have major orthodontic issues like a bad bite or jaw misalignment but still feel unhappy with their gumline, veneers or crowns might be a good option. By fitting caps over each of your teeth, your doctor can give you the illusion of longer teeth with a smaller gum line. 

Botox or Lip Repositioning Surgery

Sometimes EGD is caused by a hyperactive upper lip that shifts higher than average when you smile. This minimally invasive procedure allows your doctor to move your lip downward on your face so that less of your gums show when you smile. Botox can also work to reduce the range that your upper lip can move, so your hyperactive upper lip covers more of your gum line when you smile. Botox isn’t a permanent solution, however, and could require repeated treatments to continue giving you the results you’re looking for. 

Laser Gum Contouring

Like a gingivectomy, laser gum contouring works to remove a section of your gum line so that the surface area of your teeth appears bigger by contrast. This minimally invasive procedure uses a laser to reshape the gum line so that you can feel more confident in your smile. 

What Causes a Gummy Smile & How To Fix It

Choose Beim Orthodontics

We’ve been making Lake Mary smile since 1990. With more than 30 years of experience and three unique treatment options, Beim Orthodontics is your choice for exceptional care. 

Our team at Beim Orthodontics is committed to making you smile with confidence. If you’re feeling insecure about your gummy smile, we are here to help! Follow us on Instagram and schedule your free consultation with Dr. Beim today!