Modern dental technology makes it easier than ever to fix a gummy smile.

It’s not always imperfect teeth that can make you feel self-conscious about your smile. You might have the straightest, whitest teeth in the world, but if you show too much gum when you grin, you can still wind up feeling embarrassed and insecure about it.

Fortunately, there’s a great way to address a disproportionate tooth-to-gum ratio and give you the smile you’ve always wanted: gum contouring. This simple, minimally invasive procedure uses special tools to reshape your gum line so that it’s more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing.

Keep reading to learn more about this procedure and discover whether gum contouring is right for you.

What Is Gum Contouring?

Gum contouring, or gum lift surgery, is a cosmetic treatment designed to reshape the gums and beautify the smile. The procedure can involve the use of scalpels but is also increasingly performed using laser technology to reduce discomfort and speed up recovery.

While it is often strictly cosmetic, gum contouring is sometimes medically necessary as a part of other procedures involving the gums, such as pocket reduction for periodontitis and crown lengthening.

What causes a gummy smile?

“Gummy smile” is the term used to describe a smile featuring an excessive amount of gum tissue. The amount is determined to be excessive when the gum above the upper teeth measures 4 millimeters or more.

There are a few causes of a gummy smile, including the following:


The most common reasons for a gummy smile are genetics and anatomy. Things like short teeth, a short upper lip, or larger-than-average gums are inheritable traits. In rare instances, certain genetic conditions and hormone imbalances can also be responsible for excessive gum tissue.

Poor Oral Hygiene

When you fail to stick to a good oral hygiene routine, it can cause inflammation of the gum tissue. Sometimes, that inflammation is enough to cause a gummy smile.

Certain Medications

Enlarged gum tissue is an unfortunate side effect of a few different medications, including certain immunosuppressants, heart disease medications, and more. When this is the cause of your gummy smile, gum lift surgery is likely not a good solution for you.

What causes an uneven gum line?

Sometimes, it’s not necessarily excessive gum tissue that causes issues with your smile, but rather an imbalanced distribution of the gum tissue, which results in an uneven or crooked smile. The causes for this issue are similar to those of a gummy smile, whether genetic or as a result of poor hygiene or medication side effects.

Another common cause of an uneven gum line is permanent teeth that are not totally erupted (developed out the gum and into the mouth). When your permanent teeth come in, the gum line’s natural reaction is to recede. But when the teeth don’t erupt completely, the gums will not always recede, leading to an uneven or excessively gummy smile.

The Gum Contouring Procedure

Before you can make an appointment for gum lift surgery, you’ll first need to have a consultation with your dentist to determine whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure. If it’s determined that gum contouring can help you, you can expect the following.

First, your dentist will go over the basics of the procedure with you so that you know what to expect and where your new gum line will be placed. If you’re worried about discomfort during the procedure, don’t—the operation site will be numbed with a local anesthetic.

Your dentist will use cutting-edge laser technology to begin reshaping your gum line. The use of lasers allows for greater accuracy and, therefore, less discomfort and a shorter recovery period.

Finally, when you’re done with the procedure, your dentist will give you instructions on how to make your recovery as speedy and simple as possible. The length of the recovery period will depend on how much contouring is actually done, but in general, you can expect to be fully healed within 7 to 10 days.

Will the gums grow back again?

This is a common question, and although it may seem like you can expect the gum tissue to return in time, the use of laser dentistry means that the laser cauterizes as it works. Not only does this reduce the risk of bleeding and infection, but it seals the tissue to prevent it growing back.

Am I a good candidate for this procedure?

This question is best answered during a visit to your dentist’s office, but you’re most likely a good candidate if you have any of the following:

  • Uneven gum line.
  • Short teeth.
  • Excessive gum tissue.
  • Discolored gums.

If any of the above describe your smile, and you’re in good oral and overall health, then it’s likely that your dentist will give you the okay to schedule your gum contouring appointment.

In need of cosmetic dentistry in Bloomington, IL?

Being unhappy with your smile can affect many aspects of your life, but you don’t have to continue to suffer the effects of a gummy smile. Bloomington Modern Dentistry has the experience and modern dental technology to solve this, and any other oral health issue you have.

The first step is to reach out to us for a consultation. Contact us online today and get the healthy smile you deserve.