If you’re not happy with your smile, it could be because your gums rest too high or too low, giving you a grin that’s too “toothy” or makes your teeth look small. Gum contouring, also called tissue sculpting or gum reshaping, is a cosmetic dental procedure that fixes an uneven gum line. If you’re a candidate, it can result in a smile you’ll be proud to show off.
Read on for some information about gum reshaping from the staff at The Chicago Dental Studio.
Gum Contouring & Reshaping: An Overview
Just as no two people’s teeth are exactly alike, gum reshaping surgery varies depending on a patient’s needs. In general, if your gums appear uneven or cover a large portion of your teeth, this procedure involves removing excess gums and tissue to contour the gum line. If your gum tissue has receded, exposing more of your teeth than necessary, this procedure may entail grafting and restoring gum tissue to create a healthier smile.
Uneven Gums: Causes and Effects
Gums can need reshaping for several reasons. Gums can overgrow because of the following:
● Hormonal imbalances
● Prescription medication, such as immunosuppressants
● Gum disease, if your gum tissue responds aggressively to tartar and plaque
Gum recession, also known as a receding gum line, occurs when the gum tissue pulls back from the tooth. Common causes include:
● Overzealous or improper brushing
● Periodontal disease
● Grinding or clenching teeth (also known as bruxism)
● Using tobacco
● A traumatic mouth injury
● A misaligned bite
Gum Contouring Surgery: Is It Necessary?
Having your gums reshaped to improve the beauty and condition of your smile is not considered medically necessary. However, if you’re dealing with an underlying issue such as periodontal disease, your dental insurance might consider gum grafting or contouring surgery necessary to protect your teeth and bones. Likewise, if your gums have grown in such a way that they trap bacteria, your insurance may consider gum trimming or gum reduction surgery necessary.
What Type of Doctors Perform Gum Reshaping?
Periodontists, also called gum specialists, and many general dentists can perform gum contouring.
How Does It Work?
In general, gum reshaping is an in-office procedure that lasts about one to two hours and requires a local anesthetic. If the dentist needs to remove tissue, they’ll use a soft tissue laser or a scalpel and sutures. If you have too little gum tissue, the dentist will remove tissue from another part of your mouth and graft it to the receded areas, reshaping and lengthening the gum line.
What to Expect?
You can expect some tenderness afterward. You also might feel some soreness and swelling. Your dentist may suggest using an aspirin-free pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or applying an ice pack or cold compress to your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes over the next few days.
Recovery & Risks
A complete recovery could take weeks if your surgery is extensive. You might have to eat soft foods for two or three days, such as eggs, yogurt, pasta, soup, applesauce, or ice cream. You also might need to use an antibiotic mouth rinse to reduce the risk of infection. Your dentist will examine your gums soon after the procedure to monitor your progress.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Gum reshaping surgery can create a healthier, more beautiful smile. If you’ve needed this surgery for oral health reasons, it can strengthen your teeth along your gum line and reduce the damage from periodontal disease. However, any surgery has its risks, such as infection, a poor reaction to anesthesia, or dissatisfaction with the results.
Is It Permanent?
Yes, gum contouring is permanent. It’s not something that you’ll need to have redone every few months or years.
Consultation & Planning
Consult with your dentist or periodontist about whether you’re a good candidate for gum reshaping surgery. For instance, if your teeth and gums aren’t healthy because of periodontal disease, you might want to improve your oral health before restoring your gum tissue. Also, depending on your insurance coverage, you might need to discuss a budget or payment plan.
If your gum contouring surgery is related to your oral health because of a condition such as periodontal disease, talk with your dentist and dental insurance provider about covering a portion of these costs.
Finding a Competent Dentist Near You
Because of the delicacy of gum reshaping, it’s vital to find a dentist skilled in this type of treatment. Ask your dentist about their experience and for any before-and-after gum contouring examples.
The Chicago Dental Studio: Your Choice for a Perfect Smile
At the Chicago Dental Studio, we’ve provided top-notch, high-tech, and advanced dental care since 2012. We’re a proud member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and we’re glad to serve you at three convenient locations throughout Chicago. Go to our website’s contact page and click on “Book Now” to arrange an appointment near you.