Gummy smiles (also known as Excessive Gingival Display) is when there is a disproportionate gum ratio appearing above the upper teeth when your mouth is rested and/or smiling, around 4mm of gum exposed. Gummy smiles are typically easy to identify as the visual component is prominent. Although there is generally no pain associated with a gummy smile, it is often distressing for the patient regarding how it looks, and it can contribute to the upper gums becoming dry.
Often, those concerned about their gummy smile and looking for surgical fixes are those who have previously undergone ‘camouflage orthodontics’ - that is, procedures that may work to move the teeth in instances of overcrowding, but do not address the underlying skeletal issue that is the core of gummy smiles. Essentially, they’ve been dissatisfied with the orthodontic treatment (perhaps since teen years) and want to now get to the main issue.
This is not to say, of course, that orthodontics isn’t the right treatment for some, it simply has its place and gummy smiles cannot be fixed in this way.
We generally suggest LeFort 1 for gummy smile surgery. It changes the height of the upper jaw and normalises the tooth and gum display, which allows more ideal facial proportions. It can also improve the air flow behind the soft palate which leads to improved breathing and better sleep patterns as it diminishes the effects of snoring and Sleep Apnoea. Find more information about LeFort here.