A gummy smile, also known as gingival display, refers to a smile in which too much of the gum line is visible. As it is purely cosmetic and not health-related, whether or not a person has a gummy smile is based on their perception. However, most people believe they have a gummy smile when 3 millimetres or more of their gum tissue is exposed when smiling.
Our recommended surgeons specialise in treating gummy smiles with gummy smile surgery (also known as lip repositioning surgery, lip lowering surgery, and gummy tuck), where the patient’s gummy smile is due to the formation of their upper lip. By tailoring the procedure according to your unique facial features, they can restore a more proportionate smile that sits naturally within the rest of your facial profile.
Surgery time1 hour
Hospital time6 hours
Stay home4 days
Full recovery4 weeks
Gummy Smile Surgery Before and Afters
What Causes a Gummy Smile?
Formation of Lips
When you smile, your lip raises upward (about 6-8 mm) to reveal your teeth and gum line. Patients with gummy smiles may have a shorter or hyperactive upper lip, which raises the lip too high, thus exposing too much gum tissue. Plastic surgeons treat a hyperactive lip with lip repositioning surgery which positions the lips to prevent the surrounding elevator muscles from raising your lips too high
Formation of Teeth
A gummy smile can be due to your teeth growing improperly in your gums. If your teeth seem to be too short, it may be because they have under-erupted, and your gum tissue is concealing them. In such cases, you should consult a dental professional, who may recommend an appropriate treatment such as gum contouring or crown lengthening for improving your smile.
Formation of Upper Jaw
If your upper jaw is of a disproportionate length, it may be affecting the positioning of your teeth and gums. An upper jaw that is too long can push the teeth and gums forwards and downwards, thus exposing too much of the gumline. In such cases, patients may need jaw surgery, where a surgeon repositions the upper and lower jaw to bring it in alignment with the rest of your facial structure
Gingival hyperplasia is a condition that causes excess growth of gum tissue, which in turn produces a gummy smile. Other symptoms include bad breath, inflammation, and pain. This condition may be the side-effect of certain medications, such as those prescribed for treating seizures and high blood pressure. Patients who have developed gingival hyperplasia due to medications should speak to their doctor, who may recommend an appropriate treatment.
Lip Repositioning Surgery Cost UK
In general, the cost of lip repositioning surgery with our recommended surgeons start from £2,200. The price of the surgery varies depending on the surgical complexity of each procedure. Therefore, you will receive the exact cost of your surgery after consulting with your chosen plastic surgeon.
Gummy Smile Surgery Procedure
Gummy Smile surgery takes less than an hour to perform under local anaesthesia or sedation. The surgeon starts by making an incision on the underside of the top lip. Afterwards, the surgeon removes the required amount of gum tissue to lower the lip to the desired level. Finally, the surgeon closes the incision with dissolvable sutures.
Immediately after your gummy smile surgery, you may experience swelling and tightness in and around your upper lip which will significantly reduce in the next few days. Most patients return to work after four days and can resume more strenuous activities after two weeks. Furthermore, you should avoid smiling and laughing as much as possible for up to four weeks after the surgery to ensure that the lip heals in the intended position.
You will notice the results of lip repositioning surgery immediately, as the position of your upper lip will have slightly lowered. However, your results will gradually improve over the next fours weeks, by which time the swelling will have largely dissipated. Furthermore, it may take a further six months for the lips to settle into their intended position and for the final results of the surgery to become apparent. By this time, your upper lip will raise to an appropriate level when smiling, thus not over-exposing your gum line.
Gummy Smile Surgery vs. Lip Flip
Lip flip is an alternative treatment for a gummy smile that uses botox to relax the elevator muscles of the upper lip. To perform the procedure, the surgeon injects botox into the centre of the upper lip. As a result, the lip will raise less when you smile, thus showing less of your gum line.
Although lip flip is a non-invasive treatment, our recommended specialists prefer to use lip repositioning surgery to treat gummy smiles caused by hyperactive upper lips. The surgical approach allows the surgeon to achieve greater precision and deliver a result that sits naturally within the patient’s face. In contrast, botox is more likely to leave the patient with an unnatural result by limiting the movement of the muscles.
Furthermore, while gummy smile surgery offers permanent results, patients will need to repeat the lip flip treatment every 3-5 months as the effects of the botox wear off. Therefore, lip repositioning surgery is the more cost-effective treatment for patients.
Is gummy smile surgery permanent?
Yes, gummy smile surgery offers permanent results. The surgery removes a strip of the gum line from the upper lip, which permanently lowers its position.
Who is a good candidate for lip repositioning surgery?
Your surgeon will assess your suitability for lip repositioning surgery during a consultation. In general, most people with a gummy smile caused by a hyperactive upper lip and no underlying medical conditions will be good candidates for the surgery.
Is gummy smile surgery worth it?
Many people who have a gummy smile are often self-conscious about their appearance when they smile. In such cases, patients consider lip repositioning surgery a worthwhile treatment as it permanently lowers their lip to reveal less of their gum line. As a result, the surgery restores patients with a proportionate gum to teeth ratio when they smile, which increases their self-esteem and quality of life.