What is a Gummy Smile?

gumsbBelieve it or not, an esthetically pleasing smile can win you jobs, friends, and other success. A smile is an important thing. It’s one of the first things people notice when they look at you. It can be an attractive quality that draws people to you and brings positive things your way. There are many reasons to be unhappy with your smile. You can have worn teeth, discolored teeth, or your teeth may seem too big or too small. Today, your Des Moines Dentist, Dr. Stephen Burds, explains what a gummy smile is.

Gingival Tissue

It is considered a gummy smile when the gingival tissue covers more than the top third of your teeth. In dentistry the teeth that show when you smile are referred to as the esthetic zone. The esthetic zone consists of:

  • The size of your teeth
  • The shape of your teeth
  • The size of your lips
  • Your facial muscles
  • The gingival tissue

Only about three millimeters of gum should be visible between the top (neck), and the bottom of your tooth to be considered esthetically pleasing. The five characteristics above should appear to be in symmetry, and the gums themselves should also be symmetrical half-oval or half-circular in shape along the neck of the teeth. Your gums should be contoured evenly. Overgrown, uneven gums are a gummy smile, and though the teeth may be acceptable in length, excessive gum tissue will make them appear too short.


Excessive gingival growth does not make for an esthetically pleasing smile but with today’s procedures that can be easily rectified. Laser treatment is commonly used to remove excessive gingival tissue as it reduces pain, bleeding, recovery time, and requires only a local anesthetic. Improving a gummy smile not only reinstates your gingival health which is important for both your oral and overall health, but a confident and esthetic smile can bring positive things your way.

About your Des Moines Dentist

Contact your Des Moines dentist by calling Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565. We welcome patients from River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.