Gummy Smile Surgery

If you have a gummy smile, your smile reveals and excessively large amount of gum tissue, giving a disproportionate gum to tooth ratio. This sort of “smile” is commonly seen in horses when they bare their teeth – lots of gum is on show. A gummy smile is quite common, particularly in young women.

Gummy smile surgery will correct the excessive gumminess of your smile by reducing the amount of gum on show with smiling. This enhances your smile and allows you to smile fully without the fear and embarrassment of excessive gumminess.

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The Procedure

Gummy smile surgery is usually performed in the office under local anaesthetic with oral sedative tablets. The procedure can be performed either alone or combined with other procedures in hospital under a light general anaesthetic if desired.

The procedure takes approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours. Incisions are made inside the mouth at the junction of the upper lip and upper gum and a small amount of this tissue is removed. Modifications of the upper lip muscle decrease the ability of the upper lip to retract excessively are made. Dissolving stitches are placed – these gradually dissolve over 7 to 10 days.

There are no bandages or dressings. Washing and showering are encouraged as soon as desired.

The Recovery

Gummy smile is an in office or day stay procedure. For the first week it is sensible to avoid excessive mouth movement such as vigorous chewing, talking and smiling. A soft, non-chew diet such as protein smoothies, soups and purees are recommended. Bruising and swelling are minimal and pain is minimal to non-existent. Stitches are dissolving. Most people are back at work after a week. Avoid vigorous mouth movements – such as biting into an apple, or big sudden smiles for 3 to 4 weeks.


Those who are born with long lips are suitable for surgery at any age. Most people develop lengthening of the upper lip with age and lip lift surgery is frequently performed in those aged between 40 to 70.

The lip lift surgery is done either in our rooms as a standalone procedure with oral sedation and local anaesthetic, or in an accredited hospital or day-stay facility under light general anaesthetic or sedation.

A lip lift is a permanent procedure and will not need to be done again.

Recent innovations in lip lift surgery have allowed most of the incisions to be hidden in the creases at the base of the nose and inside the nostrils. These incisions become very difficult to see with time and the changes in the surgery have made this a very much more reliable and less obvious procedure.

Dr Nettle’s surgical fee is approximately $6,500. This procedure is most commonly performed in our rooms.

There are no Medicare rebates as a lip lift is a cosmetic procedure.

Stitches are removed on postoperative day six. There are sometimes some dissolving sutures inside the nostrils which will dissolve in their own time.

Follow up appointments will be determined by you and Dr Nettle.

Regular appointments are made to check that you have reached your aesthetic goals and that your scars and contour are continuing to improve.

You will be given a Plastic Surgery Recovery guide upon booking your surgery. This is a highly valuable document that explains in great detail all of your after care for surgery.

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Lip Lift