While the whiteness of teeth is an important contributing factor to your smile’s beauty, so too is the shape of the gums. Both need to be in the correct proportions to create a dazzling aesthetic.
Some patients, however, have an undesirable tooth-to-gum ratio, with soft tissue dominating their smile. Gums appear to crowd out the teeth and take up too much of the area of the smile. The white section of the teeth can appear too short, giving the appearance of baby teeth, or uneven, making the smile look crooked.
For these patients, gum contouring could offer a solution. This technique seeks to reshape the gumline more favorably, giving you confidence in social situations and correcting distorted gum development.
GUM CONTOURING: THE BASICS
Gum contouring involves removing unwanted gum tissue from your mouth using either a laser or a scalpel. Dr. Patel and the team first identify excess gum and then carefully mark areas requiring tissue removal. They then use specialized tools and equipment to shape the gum line in a way that makes it aesthetically more pleasing.
Gum contouring is often an elective procedure that patients use for cosmetic purposes. Usually, the removal of gum tissue is not a medical requirement. Before the procedure, we numb the area with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort and then use techniques to eliminate unwanted gum based on your individual case.
Laser-based techniques are becoming more popular. These devices seal tissue to reduce bleeding and allow dentists to contour gingival tissue more precisely. Lasers are also better at targeting pockets or gaps between crooked teeth where bacteria can accumulate.
In some cases, gum contouring involves exposing more of the teeth or reshaping the interface between teeth and gum to make it more shapely. We may perform a gum graft which involves taking gum tissue from one part of the mouth and using it to improve the appearance of your smile in another.
How long the procedure takes typically depends on the kind of work you need. Many patients can be in and out of the office in just one to two hours.
WHAT ARE THE COSMETIC BENEFITS OF GUM CONTOURING?
The cosmetic benefits of gum contouring are spectacular. Once we remove excess gum tissue from your mouth, your smile will look brighter and more symmetrical.
We specifically target the interface between the teeth and the gums. Many patients with “gummy smiles” have flat intersections between the gingival tissue and dentition. Gingival contouring involves creating more moon-shaped gum frames around the teeth, adding symmetry to each tooth.
The benefits of cosmetic gum contouring including:
- Straighter and healthier-looking teeth
- More shapely and even smile
- A reduction in the visibility of your gums
- A better tooth-to-gum ratio
- An increase in the surface area of your teeth, permitting other cosmetic procedures, such as veneers
- Removal of unsightly infected gum tissue
WHAT ARE THE MEDICAL BENEFITS OF GUM CONTOURING?
Gum contouring offers a host of medical benefits too, alongside cosmetic enhancements. These include:
- Crown lengthening: crowns are caps that fit over the top of natural teeth, usually to replace a tooth that is cracked, broken, decayed, or misshapen. These prosthetics, however, need a secure base to hold them firmly in position. Some patients, however, have decayed or broken teeth, or there is not enough tooth above the gum line to provide a foundation. To fit a crown, therefore, dentists sometimes have to recontour gum tissue to lengthen the tooth. Properly-fitting crowns allow for better oral hygiene and reduced likelihood of decay.
- Pocket reduction: Gums can develop pockets – gaps that form between the gum tissue and the teeth. Commonly, they form during periodontal disease but can emerge at any time in life. Pockets don’t usually close up by themselves, even if you have excellent oral hygiene. So one solution is to cut away the offending gum and then allow the remaining tissue to form a tight collar around the tooth, preventing food debris from causing infection in the future.
- Regenerative procedures: The gums provide an essential barrier between the external environment and the teeth’s roots. When they fail, it can lead to more root canal issues, gum infections, and periodontal disease. Regenerative gum contouring is the process of taking tissue from the gums and sometimes the palate to rebuild the gumline in areas where it is receding and leaving roots susceptible to infection.
WHAT CAUSES UNEVEN GUMS?
For most people seeking cosmetic treatment, the causes of a gummy smile are genetic. There’s a good chance that other members of your family had it in the past if it is something that affects your smile.
However, uneven gums can also be the result of health problems or interactions with certain medications. Enlarged gums, for instance, can be a consequence of immunosuppressant drugs, such as Cyclosporin A, and epilepsy drugs, like phenytoin. People on heart disease medications, such as Diltiazem and Verapamil can also experience an increase in the size of their gums.
Uneven gums can also result from gum recession, where the gum tissue dies back over time, revealing more of the crown (and sometimes the root).
Poor oral hygiene habits, smoking, and aging can all cause gums to recede. Receding gingival tissue can lead to oral health problems, including decay and tooth loss.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
If you are unhappy with the way your gums appear, you could be an ideal candidate for gum contouring. Here at Dynamic Smile Design, our team has tremendous experience and knowledge that can help you achieve your best smile. Whether you need to reduce gumminess or improve the appearance of receding gums, Dr. Patel and the team can assist.
Schedule an appointment with us today for a consultation. Learn about your gum contouring options and the kind of results you can expect after treatment. Solve your smile issues today and get results that last a lifetime.