Gummy smile: Exploring my options

Written by: Dr Sahil Patel
Edited by: Carlota Pano

For some people, the aesthetic of their smile may be overshadowed by the presence of excessive gum tissue, commonly referred to as a "gummy smile”, impacting one’s self-esteem and overall facial harmony.


Here, Dr Sahil Patel, renowned cosmetic dentist in London, provides an expert insight into the intricacies of the gummy smile phenomenon, exploring its characteristics, common signs, and available treatment options.



What is a gummy smile?


A gummy smile is defined as an excessive display of pink gum tissue when smiling and/or at rest. Excessive gum display can be anything greater than 2mm of gum display when smiling.


What are the signs of a gummy smile?


Showing teeth that look too small and showing more than 2mm of gum when speaking and smiling.


What are the available treatments for gummy smiles?


A gummy smile can be treated through various methods, depending on its underlying cause and severity. Common treatments include:


What are the risks and complications of gummy smile treatments?


The greatest risk is the level of invasiveness combined with the relatively unpredictable nature of all of the treatment options. Usually, the best option is selected from a bad bunch, and this is due to the nature of all the methods being a non-exact science. The body will respond and heal to its stable gum position after the treatment, which may or may not precisely align where the dentist and patient would like the gum to be.


How long does a gummy smile treatment take?


The duration of a gummy smile treatment can vary depending on the specific method chosen and the patient's unique circumstances.


Here’s an approximate timeframe for each treatment:

  • Laser gum lift: Around 1 appointment of 60 minutes duration.
  • Surgical gum lift: Around 2 appointments of 90 minutes duration.
  • Braces: Around 9 - 18 months.
  • Muscle relaxant for the upper lip: Around 1 - 2 appointments and 3 - 6 monthly top-ups thereafter.
  • Lip repositioning surgery: Around 3 - 6 months.
  • Jaw surgery: Around 6 - 24 months.



If you would like to consult your options with an expert, schedule an appointment with Dr Sahil Patel via his Top Doctors profile today.

By Dr Sahil Patel

Dr Sahil Patel is a highly skilled cosmetic dentist based in London who is an expert in bespoke and long-lasting cosmetic dentistry solutions for a range of dental concerns, including ceramic veneers, composite bonding and the Invisalign treatment. In the UK, he is also one of the founders of the tooth contouring and the gummy smile makeover. Dr Patel currently sees patients at the renowned dental clinic, Marylebone Smile Clinic, where he operates as the principal dentist. 

Dr Patel is accredited by the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD). He obtained his dental qualifications from the University of Bristol, obtaining merits in restorative dentistry and orthodontics. He then completed dental training in Cornwall before relocating to London, where he has accomplished higher aesthetic dentistry training in restorative cosmetic dentistry, including exclusive schooling with biomechanical engineering prosthodontists Lane Ochi and Albert Solnit. Dr Patel can create robust solutions for the most challenging dental situations, including implant tooth replacement, bite rehabilitation, colour matching and corrective treatment of tourism dentistry.

Since then, Dr Patel has established himself as a leading figure at the forefront of London’s cosmetic dentistry hub, attracting clients from all spheres and locations, including Members of Parliament, UK Special Forces, elite sports athletes, TV personalities and social media icons. His clinical dentistry has also been recognised by professional bodies, notably the British Society for Restorative Dentistry, with the W&H Clinical Case Award in 2016 and the Aesthetic Dentistry Awards for five consecutive years.

Further to his highly-cosmetic dentistry work, Dr Patel serves as a committee member of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a Sports Officer in the Royal Naval Reserves. He is involved in postgraduate dental education via his online platform, Restorative Interface, and is also an active rising figure on social media, where he has built a diverse community and regularly produces and content-shares verified media.

British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD) Accreditation Number: 1882

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