6. High Lip Line

This case type is where a smiling patient shows much more of the gums than would normally be seen. While a normal smile would only show all of the white tooth and only a small amount of gum tissue, the High Lip Line case shows the gum tissues sometimes as high as the tip of the root of the tooth. Patients can't prevent the lip from going so high since that is their natural smile. Surgery can be done to expose more tooth and reduce the overwhelming appearance of gum redness. If the teeth are uneven in length before the surgery, it may be better to shorten the long ones in order that the pre-surgical appearance is more even. The surgery will then expose the teeth more evenly.


Case 6a A 14 year old girl presents with a smile with which she is unhappy. This gummy smile is the result of a high lip line. When the patient smiles, her upper lip rises up further than normal. This results in much more coral pink gum tissue being seen. This can occur with teeth that are too small or teeth that are normal in length but where too much gum tissue covers the teeth. In this case, there is too much gum tissue, the removal of which will allow for a decrease in the negative appearance of the high lip line.
Pre-Treatment
The high lip line exposes too much gum and teeth that are appearing smaller than their normal size.
Post-Surgical
The surgical removal of the excess gum tissue creates a much better balanced smile and a much happier patient.
Case 6b This is the twin sister of the preceeding case. Both sisters have a high lip line, but this sister's smile does not expose as much of the gum tissue as does her sister's smile. This degree of a high lip line is easier to create a more pleasing smile with minimally-invasive surgery.
Pre-Treatment
The exposure of the gums upon smiling is greater than what is seen with a more normal lip line.
Post-Surgical
With the removal of a small amount of gum tissue, the smile becomes less "gummy"
Case 6c This 32 year old female has a combination of a high lip line, short teeth, and an uneven length of her central incisors. If she were to decide to improve the appearance of her smile, she would need to first shorten the length of her central incisors in order to make them the same length as her other teeth, therefore lengthening all of the teeth to the same degree. Afterwards, gum surgery will be needed in order to expose more of the even-length teeth. This would create more cosmetic balance to her smile.


high lip line
High Lip Line

Gum surgery can reduce the imbalance of the red gums/white teeth appearance. However, in some cases, the lip line is so high that a pleasing look is hard to accomplish.