Gummy smiles are a common clinical finding characterized by the excessive display of gums during smiling movements of the upper lip. There are various reasons and types of gummy smiles, many of which are related to a condition called Altered Passive Eruption (APE). APE occurs when there is an inadequate relationship between the lower edge of the upper lip, the positioning of the anterosuperior teeth (and sometimes posterosuperior teeth), the location of the upper jaw, and the position of the gingival margin in relation to the dental crown.

In APE, excessive gum tissue overlaps the enamel limits, resulting in a shortened appearance of the clinical crown and a perception of hidden teeth. The term “Altered Passive Eruption” suggests that the failure occurs during the passive phase of dental eruption, where the gingival tissues recede.

Treatment for gummy smiles can involve the use of diode laser technology. Diode laser treatment offers several benefits for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment. By using a soft tissue diode laser, we can safely and effectively remove excess gum tissue, allowing for more tooth surface exposure, which improves both aesthetics and function. The laser can be used to sculpt the gums around the teeth, enhancing the overall appearance of your smile.


Gingivectomy procedures can typically be completed in around 30 minutes with minimal discomfort, and there is no downtime required from work or school. Any soreness experienced usually lasts for 1-2 days and is comparable to a minor burn from hot food. The best part is that in most cases, there is no need for needles. We apply a topical anesthetic to the gum tissue, ensuring that you only feel the gentle movement of the laser tip.

Diode laser treatment can also be beneficial in cases where gums have not fully erupted or have not receded properly (passive eruption). It can help remove excess tissue and expose enough tooth surface for bracket placement or the use of temporary anchorage devices (TADs) as an alternative to headgear. Additionally, for impacted teeth that have not erupted properly through the gums, laser treatment can assist in the tooth’s eruption without the need for extensive waiting or expensive surgical procedures.

Following the removal of braces, your orthodontist may recommend aesthetic gingival recontouring to enhance the aesthetics of your smile. This procedure involves reshaping the gum line to expose more of your teeth, making them appear longer.


Using a laser, excess gum tissue around the upper teeth can be removed, resulting in a more symmetrical and balanced smile, particularly if the gum line is uneven.

By utilizing diode laser technology, we can provide effective and precise treatments for gummy smiles and related conditions, helping you achieve a smile that you can be confident about.

Schedule a consultation with our experienced team at Salem Smiles to explore the best treatment options for your specific needs and achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.