If you show too much gum when you smile, there are a number of surgical procedures that can correct this condition. The choice of the surgical procedure depends on the cause of the gummy smile. It can be due to how the alveolar bone-teeth assembly are positioned, the upper lip may lift too much, too much gum may be covering the teeth, or any combination of these. Depending on the cause of a gummy smile, Dr. Zadeh has various procedures that can help create a beautiful smile without showing too much gum.
If you are unhappy with your smile because you show too much gum, a GUMLIFT® may be right for you. GUMLIFT® is the term coined by Dr. Zadeh in 1989 for cosmetic gummy smile treatments. Previously, gum surgery was only used for patients with advanced periodontal disease or those whose gum line could prove to be a serious impediment to maintaining good dental hygiene. Cosmetic concerns; however, were not on the forefront.
Dr. Zadeh adapted this series of procedures to create a cosmetic solution for a common and embarrassing problem. Today, the GUMLIFT® refers to a a series of treatments, including jaw and gum refinement, lip repositioning, and crown lengthening procedures which are used to improve the tooth/gum ratio of your smile. The end result is a beautiful, balanced result that you will be proud to show the world.
As the GUMLIFT® is his signature surgery, he has devoted a separate website entirely to the ins & outs of gummy smile surgery. As the inventor of this treatment plan, he has unprecedented experience which allows him to create results that few dentists and oral surgeons can match.
The Pioneer Of GUMLIFT© For Gummy Smile Correction
Over the past 26 years, Dr. Zadeh has performed thousands of surgeries to treat gummy smiles. The most common procedure is simple contouring of overgrown gums through LASER treatment. However, most of his cases have been far more complex. By observing and studying outcomes from hundreds of cases, he refined his surgical techniques for ideal, predictable results every time. There is very little risk of relapse or complication when you trust your GUMLIFT® to Dr. Zadeh.
Dr. Zadeh is able to choose the perfect combinations of surgical and restorative techniques for ideal results based on your treatment needs. Most practitioners can only perform one type of gummy smile surgical correction or lack the experience to merge procedures effectively. Many plastic surgeons may try to cover the gummy smile through lip repositioning. If not done with other gum lift techniques, the results are temporary. As your body heals, you may find yourself relapsing after only one or two years. That means you have to start the entire process again.
Many dentists use porcelain veneers or caps on your front teeth to help improve the gum to tooth ratio before referring you to a surgeon to carry out the gum lift treatment. This often leads to an inefficient process with unpredictable results. Furthermore, the use of dental veneers is considerably more expensive than a simple gum trimming. It can also leave you with unnecessary alterations to your teeth that need to be touched up every 10-15 years. This can make your lifetime of treatment very costly, especially if only a simple gum trimming was necessary.
Veneers, especially if they are done (6-10 teeth) aggressively, can become a huge financial burden over the course of your lifetime! If you can get your gummy smile fixed with only a trimming, which ranges from $2,500-$3,500 on average versus numerous veneers and a lift (upwards of $20,000!), always go for the trimming alone. Don’t let someone hassle or pressure you into a major cosmetic and medical decision, especially if you are uncomfortable with the cost. Always get the second opinion.
What Happens During Gummy Smile Correction?
When you are ready for your surgery, your treatment is usually done in a single out-patient visit. Afterwards, you will only return for a post-op followup to make sure your gums are healing properly and that there are no complications. Patients with more complicated cases or who desire to have additional cosmetic work will have to return to the office to complete their treatment plan.
For many patients, gum recontouring is all that is required for stunning results. This procedure removes the excess gum tissue that cover the teeth creating a short or “peg” look. By refining the gum line, the underlying teeth are revealed. Following the surgery and a few days of healing, the patient’s new smile is ready to be enjoyed. Some patients with awkwardly placed or misshapen teeth may require teeth reproportioning which reshapes the tooth to appear more ‘normal’ and smooths out irregularities.
Some patients require their upper jaw bones to be trimmed for ideal results. The shape of the bone causes their teeth to protrude in a way that makes their gums more pronounced. By refining the shape of the jaw, the patient can enjoy the results they want without further invasive work. While it is more complicated and requires more healing time than a standard gum trimming, a jaw refinement is the often used as a tool to help patients with the most difficult cases get the results they want with less downtime and hassle.
Some patients of Dr. Zadeh also opt to have cosmetic procedures such as crowns, veneers, and dental implants in addition to their gummy smile correction to get a Hollywood-perfect smile makeover. All of these options can be discussed at your initial visit, where Dr. Zadeh will personally discuss your desired results.
During your procedure, you will be sedated for your comfort and so you can relax and let us worry about creating the smile you’ve dreamed about.
Can I See Some of Dr. Zadeh’s Results?
Of course! Most dentists are capable of trimming some excess gum tissue either by LASER or scalpel. This simple method of gummy smile treatment has its own place in cosmetic dentistry. However, the use of this method is limited to cases that simply involve overgrown gum tissue. One of our patients, Gina is a good example of a patient with overgrown gums which Dr. Zadeh treated by recontouring the gumline with a Diode LASER.
Many of the patients who visit Dr. Zadeh for gummy smile surgery present more severe situations like Gina, Mary, and Carol. These patients had orthodontic treatment in the past and were left with the gummy smiles that you see in their pictures. Their treatments required a complete gumlift. This included reshaping of the underlying bone. Dr. Zadeh performed the surgery in about 3 hours using IV sedation for the patients.
Mary’s case is an example of a gummy smile that also needed improvement in the shapes of her teeth. In this case, after the surgical treatment, Dr. Zadeh placed porcelain veneers on her teeth to complete her smile to improve their shape and luster. This gave her teeth a beautiful, even, and radiant appearance.
Carol is an example of a category of gummy smile correction for which Dr. Zadeh get referrals from all over the country. It produces the most dramatic improvements in a patient’s smile. In this example, Dr. Zadeh first treated Carol’s daughter who interestingly had the exact same issues. Impressed by the great results, Carol signed up for the same procedure about a year later.
In this case, Dr. Zadeh used three surgical procedures as phase I of the treatment. He performed a surgical gum lift, removed the bulk of the bone from the upper jaw, and did a lip-tuck procedure all in one day under IV sedation. In phase II of her treatment, I performed a restorative gum lift and placed porcelain veneers and crowns on her teeth.
Joan is another example of a very complex case. Her main complaint was the inability to close her mouth completely. She also had a history of wearing braces and disliked the size and shape of her front teeth and she particularly disliked the appearance of her gummy smile. Through a combination of oral surgery and a restorative gum lift, Dr. Zadeh corrected her gummy smile, and closed her bite significantly. Joan also opted for veneers to round out her treatment and improve the overall appearance of her teeth. The results are beautiful and stunning.
Word of Advice for The Treatment of A Gummy Smile:
Even if you start with a cosmetic dentist’s procedures first, the results may be unpredictable due to inadequate communication between the cosmetic and surgical offices. In his office, Dr. Zadeh personally designs your treatment plan, shows you the computer imaging of your mutual goals. He then performs the surgical phase and cosmetic phase all under one roof. Since all cosmetic gum lift surgeries are performed in one office in the Los Angeles area, there is never an issue of “communication errors”. Nor is there any confusion about responsibility for the outcome. This is one of the many reasons Dr. Zadeh prefers a singular, expert approach over “team” dentistry, especially when it comes to complicated gummy smile correction cases.
In other words, a cosmetic procedure must begin with the end result in mind. A cosmetic dentist must be the architect for all their procedures. As we see from the examples on this page, the ideal cosmetic result would NOT be possible without the final restorations performed by Dr. Zadeh. If the surgical phase is delegated to another office/dentist, the surgeon must follow the recommendations of the cosmetic dentist. Starting the treatment of a gummy smile at a surgeon’s office is like starting to build a house by placing plumbing and electrical wires first and then having the general contractor build the walls around the pipes and wires! It makes no sense and is a backwards and inefficient approach.
A Word From Dr. Zadeh:
“Bottom line is that your cosmetic dentist must be able to show you dozens of before and after pictures of very similar cases with great results that he or she has personally treated and that you can verify by being able to contact those patients personally and ask about their experience. Although I have hundreds of patients that for various reasons do not want to be bothered by prospective patients’ inquiries or do not want their pictures shown, I have treated enough individuals with altruistic souls who do not mind helping another person get over their fears and make the life changing improvements that my other patients have experienced.” — Dr. Parsa T. Zadeh, DDS, MAGD, FICOI
B. Lip Repositioning
In certain cases where the teeth size and position are ideal, this procedure can be performed to limit the upward movement of the upper lip upon smiling. The disadvantage of this procedure is due to the elastic nature of lip tissue, the lip stretches and the condition relapses about a year later. Dr. Zadeh has used additional sophisticated procedures to minimize this relapse and you can ask him about these at your consultation.
C. Crown Lengthening
Crown Lengthening is the classical procedure that is used to reduce gum exposure. Unless modified for gummy smile reduction, a classical crown lengthening is considered too aggressive for a healthy mouth.
This is the most common procedure performed by dentists to reduce gummy smile. In very limited situations the resected gums will grow back in about 10-12 months. There are however, some situations that can benefit from this simple procedure.