What is the Gingival Smile Line?

What is a Gingival Smile Line

Did you know that your gums are just as important for the overall look of your smile as your teeth are? While many people place great importance on making sure their teeth are white, bright, and properly aligned, not everyone realizes that their gums can help to make or break a beautiful smile. Additionally some people may even be surprised when their cosmetic dentist suggests gum modifications in addition to other cosmetic dental treatments. 

This is because your cosmetic dentist is an expert in visual smile aesthetics. Their extensive experience allows them to see beyond simply the teeth so they can improve everything about your smile. Therefore when evaluating a smile, your dentist can classify smiles as either having a low smile line or a gingival smile line. 

smile lines

Many cosmetic dentists consider low smile lines to be the optimal smile line. A low smile line is when your upper lip naturally conceals your upper gums, meaning that only your teeth are visible. A gingival smile line, on the other hand, refers to a smile where the upper gum tissue is visible to some extent. The amount of visible gum tissue can vary, but cosmetic dentists consider less visible gum tissue as being ideal. 

At this point, you may be wondering why some people have low smile lines and others have gingival smile lines. The simple answer is that everyone is different. The type of smile you have is based on many different factors, including: 

  • Lip shape & size
  • Facial muscles
  • Gum tissue
  • Size and shape of the teeth

While all these factors can affect the look of your smile, there are a few possible things that can cause gingival smile lines. One possible cause is an abnormal eruption of teeth that causes excess gum tissue to remain. For this reason, people who have gingival smile lines are also said to have gummy smiles, a high lip line, short upper lip, and full denture smiles. This type of smile can also be caused by improper development of the upper jaw, as well as a hyperactive lip muscle. 

Before and after gum shaping procedure

Cases of gummy smiles that are not the result of potentially damaging dental conditions or that are mainly cosmetic may not require treatment. However, depending on the cause of the high smile line, certain action may be recommended. For example, if a high smile line is the result of improper upper jaw development, then orthodontic treatment may be recommended to prevent future bite problems. 

Despite the fact that not all gummy smiles may require treatment, there are some individuals who elect for cosmetic dental treatments aimed at improving the appearance of their gums. A gingivectomy is a popular procedure used to remove and reshape excess gum tissue to improve the tooth to gum ratio, as well as the contour of the gums. Most cosmetic dentists can easily perform this procedure in-office with a dental laser. 

Overall, gingival smile lines are present when the gums are visible while smiling. Since both your teeth and your gums play an integral role in creating the look of your smile, some people may not be satisfied with the look of gingival smile lines. Depending on the severity, cause, and personal preference regarding a high line smile, there are treatments that can be used. For more information, schedule a consultation with your Wellington cosmetic dentist today. 

Dr. Sam Sadati wearing black suite portrait

Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry.  He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.