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Dental Smile Line & Gummy Teeth: Causes, Variations & Remedies

Dental Smile Line & Gummy Teeth: Causes, Variations & Remedies

Have you ever realised that whenever you see people laughing, some of them naturally show more of their gums than others? As a matter of fact, some people reveal a large amount of their gum tissue and their teeth even when they are just talking. In dental terms, this is referred to as the Smile Line, and the type of smile line you possess can directly affect your smile.

What Is a Dental Smile Line?

A smile is made up of the lip, the teeth, and the gums (gingiva), which all work in harmony to achieve a gorgeous and confident smile. A smile line is also the evaluation of the lip line when smiling. As the smile expands, the teeth are exposed, and sometimes the gum too. There are three types of smile lines, namely high smile line, average smile line and low smile line.1

High smile line: A smile that shows the full size of the upper front teeth along with a significant amount of gingiva. It’s also known as the gingival smile line or gummy smile.

Average smile line: A smile that shows ⅔ of the upper front teeth, and with only a small chunk of the gingiva visible.

Low smile line: A smile that shows less than ⅔ of the upper front teeth, and with almost no gingiva visible.

People with a low smile line tend to look more youthful, while those with a high smile line tend to appear less attractive as much more of the gums are visible.

What Factors Can Affect Your Smile Line?

There are many different factors that can affect your smile line, which includes:2

Size, shape and mobility of the lips

Size, shape and mobility of the lips

Facial muscles

Facial muscles

Size and shape of teeth

Size and shape of teeth

Amount of gum tissue

Height of the upper jaw

What Can Be Done to Achieve the Ideal Smile Line?

A beautiful and confident smile is among the key purposes of orthodontic and gum treatments. Having low, average or high dental smile lines alone do not necessarily mean that treatment is needed. However, it may indicate the presence of an underlying dental condition that may need to be addressed, including gummy teeth smile. Here are some of the methods and procedures that can help you achieve the ideal dental smile line.

1. Orthodontic (Braces) and Jaw Surgery

If your high smile line is caused by the way your upper jaw bone developed, you may need to undergo orthodontic and jaw surgeries to correct certain problems such as your bite and the excessive growth of the upper jaw.

2. Cosmetic Gum and Lip Surgery

As an alternative, you can opt for cosmetic treatments to beautify your smile through the removal or reshaping of the gum tissue. One of the more common procedures is the upper lip reposition surgery, performed to restrict the muscle pull of the lip muscles to reduce the amount of gum that is visible when smiling. Another common cosmetic procedure is botox, which is used to relax hyperactive lip muscles.

When injected in the area between your upper lip and nose, it temporarily freezes the muscles that contract or elevate when you smile, letting you smile without showing your gums.

3. Porcelain Veneers

Veneers are thin sheets of ceramic that cover the front surface of teeth, replacing any lost tooth structure. If your low smile line is caused by worn down teeth, small teeth or the narrow arch of your jaw, porcelain veneers can actually increase the size of the teeth and give you a broader smile.

Gum Care is a Necessity Especially If You Have Gummy Smile

Gummy smile or gummy teeth is a condition that is used to describe the overexposure of gums when one smiles. Having a gummy smile can affect one’s self-confidence. As a matter of fact, some people with gummy teeth even try to avoid smiling often because they are worried about how it looks.

It can be associated with poor oral health, and may require medical attention as it can lead to inflamed and painful gums, bad breath (halitosis), and even gum disease. Most people aren’t aware of gum disease and its complications because it is usually painless. However it's a different story for someone with gummy smile because the gum isn’t masked by the upper lip. Hence, excellent gum care is much more important to them, apart from treatments.

6 Ways To Keep Your Gums and Teeth Healthy

Gum disease can definitely be prevented with healthy oral hygiene. Here are a few ways you can help keep your gums and teeth healthy.

1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day

Brushing your teeth twice a day helps clean and remove the food and plaque that might be trapped between your teeth and gums. Consider an electric toothbrush as it cleans much more effectively than manual brushing, reducing the likelihood of gingivitis.

2. Floss at least once a day

This helps remove the plaque and food that’s beyond your toothbrush’s reach. It’s generally recommended to floss before brushing your teeth.

3. Use a fluoride toothpaste that’s formulated to protect your gums

Targeted treatments are always more effective and efficient. In the case of gum care, always go for a fluoridated toothpaste that’s made to improve gum health. Brushing your teeth daily with the correct gum and teeth protection toothpastes helps protect your gum and strengthen your teeth.

4. Use a therapeutic mouthwash

On top of flossing and brushing regularly, gargle your mouth with therapeutic mouthwashes. They can greatly help to reduce plaque, prevent or reduce gingivitis, and reduce the growth of tartar.

5. Go for regular dental check-ups

Your dentist can detect the early signs of gum disease and treat it if you visit them regularly. Scaling and polishing are the best ways to remove tartar and get rid of any plaque you might have missed when brushing or flossing.

6. Quit smoking

Smoking is one of the few causes of gum disease as it weakens your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off gum infection, should it happen. Smoking also slows down the recovery time of damaged gums.

Your smile is your most prized possession, and while gummy teeth and dental smile lines may be pseudo-permanent conditions, what you can and should do to preserve your bright smile is to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Start by choosing the right toothpaste for your teeth and gums, and everything else will come naturally to you.


  1. Tjan, A. H., Miller, G. D., & The, J. G. (1984). Some esthetic factors in a smile. The Journal of prosthetic dentistry, 51(1), 24-28.
  2. Silberberg, N., Goldstein, M., & Smidt, A. (2009). Excessive gingival display–etiology, diagnosis, and treatment modalities. Quintessence Int, 40(10), 809-18.
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Dental Smile Line & Gummy Teeth: Causes, Variations & Remedies