Laser Gum Contouring

Sellwood-Moreland and Portland OR

What makes a smile appealing depends on many variables, including aesthetics and perception.

The position of the upper lip plays a role in your smile, as does the amount of gum tissue on display, the size and shape of your teeth, the length and the degree of movement of your upper lip, and the vertical position of the upper jaw and teeth in relationship to the skull.

A smile is often perceived as gummy when the proportions of the teeth, gum tissues, and the upper jaw lack are out of visual alignment. Technically, research shows, a smile will be perceived as gummy when 4 millimeters—just over an eighth of an inch—of gum tissue shows. And people who show very prominent gums when they smile often feel self-conscious.

Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to alter the appearance of an excessively gummy smile, especially if it’s impacting your comfort, enjoyment of life, or overall wellbeing. Chances are that if you’re seeking a solution, you have a legitimate problem. But proper diagnosis is the key to solving this complex cosmetic concern.

Just as there are a variety of reasons gummy smiles exist, there are also a variety of ways to treat it. That’s why the correct identification of the structural issues is so important—it ensures that the treatment doesn’t make the problem worse.

What is a gummy smile?

A “gummy smile” is perceived when too much of the gum tissue is visible when you smile. It gives the appearance that the upper jaw is out of alignment, visually. Research indicates that a smile that reveals more than 4 mm or more of the gum tissue shows when smiling is a gummy smile.

Correcting a gummy smile with laser dentistry

Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to alter the appearance of an excessively gummy smile, especially if it is impacting your comfort, enjoyment of life or overall wellbeing. Gum recontouring can help reshape your gum line, providing you with a beautiful, symmetrical smile that makes you proud. Before any treatment begins, a consultation is best in determining the necessary structural issues, and then developing a treatment plan for creating your new smile.

What Happens?

First, your Whole Health Dentistry dentist will need to determine exactly why your smile looks gummy. Understanding the structural factors helps determine the best solution.

Some factors your dentist will consider are proportionality of teeth to the gum tissues. Once your permanent teeth are established, an active process that continues into early adulthood, the gum and bone tissues shrink back and stabilize. Your dentist will evaluate where you are at in the normal range of crown length and crown width. Natural variations in the eruption process can give rise to discrepancies in the normal proportions and relationships of teeth to gum tissues, which can result in shorter than normal teeth and gumminess of the smile.

A very quick and non-invasive approach to smile correction is to use a laser to contour the gum line and reduce the length of the gum. Our dentists have extensive training in laser dentistry. Skill combined with a high-tech, state-of-the art dental laser provides a virtually painless treatment that makes the teeth look longer and provides better proportionality in the amount of gum line visible at the top of the tooth. The laser also promotes faster healing and minimizes post-treatment discomfort. For patients who have a history of anxious dentist-office visits, the laser also creates a more soothing treatment option as it replaces the noise and vibration of a drill. This translates into a more comfortable, secure experience for the patient.


Following your treatment of laser surgery, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions to properly care for your gums. Since the laser minimizes post-op discomfort, you will likely only need over-the-counter pain medications, if any. There will be specific diet restrictions following your laser surgery that may last a couple of weeks. Once the healing process is complete, you can resume a normal diet.

Whole Health Dentistry offers complete oral care to patients of Sellwood-Moreland and Portland, Oregon. To schedule an appointment, contact Whole Health Dentistry today at (503) 462-1538.