Everybody wants that perfect, pearly white 32-teeth smile. For some people, getting that winning grin is as simple as brushing their teeth and flossing twice daily. For others, it means years of orthodontic treatments such as braces, retainers, or even headgear. And just about anyone who wants a truly photo-op worthy smile will have to undergo some form of cosmetic dentistry, even if it’s just routine teeth-whitening.
However, where most people are concerned about getting rid of the “yellow” hue in their teeth, others are more concerned about too much “pink”. That is to say, they are concerned about a gummy smile. While gummy smiles are definitely adorable on babies, adults prefer to show off their teeth.
Having excess gum tissue can drastically alter one’s appearance by making perfectly healthy adult teeth look like baby teeth. And the appearance of an “immature” or “underdeveloped” smile can reduce your confidence and radiance. Fortunately, no one with an uneven gum line or excess gum tissue has to settle for a smile that is less than what they deserve.
What is Gum Contouring?
Gum contouring is a cosmetic dental procedure that removes excess gum tissue or otherwise reshapes the gum line to give you a more radiant smile. Your dentist or periodontist may refer to gum contouring as a gum lift, gingivectomy, crown lengthening, or tissue sculpting.
Regardless of what they call it, the result is the same: a brighter, whiter, and more confident smile. According to RealSelf.com—a user-driven review aggregator for cosmetic procedures—98% of people who have undergone a gum lift procedure were satisfied with the results.
Who Needs a Gum Lift?
Understanding if and when you need gum contouring surgery can be as simple as asking yourself whether or not you’re satisfied with your smile. Deciding to reshape your gums isn’t, however, always a cosmetic decision. There are times when your dentist will recommend a gum lift for dental and oral health purposes.
- Genetics and Cosmetics
The shape of your smile has a lot to do with your genetics. If other members of your family—both near and extended—have gummy smiles, then it may simply be about genetics. That doesn’t mean, however, that your dentist can’t improve your smile with a gum lift.
- Overgrown Tissue
It doesn’t happen often but sometimes our gum tissue grows where it shouldn’t. It could be that your gum tissue has healed improperly after an oral injury or that a previous infection has reshaped your gumline. Either way, if excess gum tissue is interfering with your ability to eat, drink or smile from ear to ear then consult your dentist about a gum lift.
- Correcting Bad Habits
Your dentist will be happy to know that you brush and floss twice daily. However, brushing too hard can cause your gums to recede unevenly and give you the appearance of an imbalanced smile.
- Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis and other forms of gum disease and infection can occur within “pockets” of your gumline. Your dentist may need to reshape your gums in order to clear the infection.
What is Involved in a Gum Lift Procedure?
Gum contouring surgery is one of the least intensive cosmetic procedures that your teeth will ever undergo—but with some of the best results.
- Your dentist will begin by numbing your gums so as to prevent pain and discomfort.
- Your dentist or dental hygienist will then draw a line across your gums indicating where your new gum line will be. Don’t be shy to speak up during this stage as gums do not regenerate—though gum grafts can restore even severe cases of gum recession.
- If you are satisfied with your new gum line, your dentist will proceed to remove the excess gum tissue. Your dentist will then use a soft tissue laser to reseal your gums so as to prevent infection and reduce bleeding.
You may experience mild discomfort once your local anesthetic wears off but there shouldn’t be much pain or swelling. Recovery from gum contouring surgery shouldn’t take more than a week. While you can resume your regular diet 24 hours after your procedure, most dentists will recommend that you avoid certain foods and drinks. You should try to avoid:
-Hard/sharp foods that may cut the interior of your mouth
-Foods such as popcorn that are prone to sticking in your gumline
-Foods that are high in sugar or that may stick in your teeth and encourage plaque build-up
-Extremely hot or extremely cold beverages that may irritate your gums as they heal.
Keep up your regular dental and oral care routine as your gums heal to reduce the risk of infection. You can also add a warm salt water rinse to your post-procedure routine as a way to ward off harmful bacteria and help your gums recover.
If you’re considering a gum lift, schedule your next appointment with Applewood Dental today or check out our other cosmetic procedures and find out how we can help you get the smile that you deserve.