Is your gumline making you feel self-conscious about your smile? Do you cover your mouth to hide a “gummy smile?” If so, you are not alone – between 10 and 29 percent of young adults have a gummy smile. The cosmetic problem is especially common among women. Fortunately, your Houston dentist offers gum contouring that can give you a toothier, more appealing smile.
Your gums are important to your smile and to your oral health. Gum tissue, also known as gingiva, surrounds the base of your teeth and act like a protective barrier to keep food and bacteria from getting down into the tooth roots and jawbone. Your gums also support your teeth and provide nourishment to keep the roots of your teeth healthy.
Everyone’s gumline is unique. Some people have a low gumline, which gives them a toothy smile. Others have a medium gumline that shows just the right proportion of teeth and gums when they smile. Many have a high gumline that gives them a gummy smile, and a few have uneven gums.
If you have a gummy smile, gum contouring can help give you the smile of your dreams.
Your dentist may suggest gum contouring if your gums are affecting the cosmetic appeal of your smile. Gum contouring surgery may also be helpful for those who have recurring gum infections, as excess gum tissue can create spaces for infection-causing bacteria to hide.
Gum contouring goes by many different names, such as gum reshaping, cosmetic gum surgery, gingival sculpting and gingivoplasty. All describe a smile improvement procedure in which a dentist reshapes gum tissue, either by removing excess tissue or adding to it.
Dentists perform cosmetic gum surgery in their office, and it is usually done in just one visit. In most cases, you will be awake during the procedure. Your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the treatment area before beginning gum contouring.
Some dentists use scalpels to remove excess gum tissue and sculpt the gumline. Dentists who do advanced treatments offer laser gum contouring, which uses a special soft tissue laser to accurately remove gum tissue. If you have uneven gums, with too much gum tissue in one spot and not enough in another, your dentist may take move gum tissue from one area of your mouth to another. In some cases, dentists put in sutures to hold the sculpted gum tissue in place while it heals.
Gum contouring typically takes one to two hours. The length of your procedure will depend largely on the extent of contouring needed to create an appealing smile.
While local anesthesia will prevent you from feeling pain during the procedure, you may feel some discomfort when you get home and the anesthesia wears off. The amount of discomfort you feel depends on the extent of your procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers usually work well to alleviate discomfort after gum contouring; applying an ice pack or cold compress to your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes at a time can reduce pain and swelling.
Recovery from gum contouring is usually quick and there is very little down time, but it may take several days or a couple of weeks for the treatment site to heal completely, depending on the extent of your procedure. Limiting activities for a day or two can help speed recovery.
Eating soft foods for 2 to 3 days after gum contouring can help you avoid discomfort or sensitivity. At Premier Dental Club, we recommend the following soft foods:
For more information on gum contouring and the dramatic effects it can have on your smile, contact Premier Dental Club. We offer a wide variety of dental services, including pediatric care, teeth cleaning, oral cancer screening, tooth extractions, periodontal treatment for gum disease, wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, dental implants and veneers. Our dentist in Houston can help you achieve the healthy smile of your dreams.