Gum contouring is a cosmetic dental procedure that is often recommended for patients who will like to change the shape of gums or restore gum tissue that has receded. The gum contouring procedure can be done for both aesthetic appeal and medical necessity.
From this new guide, you’ll learn the details of gum contouring including:
• What gum contouring is
• How to know if you need gum contouring
• The common causes of uneven gums
• What to expect during the gum contouring procedure
• Recovery tips after the gum contouring procedure
• And lots more
If you want to learn more, this guide is for you!
Continue reading to discover more.
What Is Gum Contouring?
When we discuss confident smiles, we often emphasize teeth. But there is more to a confident smile than sets of sparkling white teeth. Healthy and attractive gum tissues form parts of a confident smile. For the best smile, the edge of the gum should be the same height for the two front teeth and for the canines.
Your gums can stand in your way of giving the type of confident smile you’ve always wanted to give. It can be that a big portion of your gums shows when you smile. It can also be that your gums rest too high or too low on your teeth. Any problem with your gum line can affect the appearance of your smile.
If you are unhappy with the quality of your smile because of your gums, then you may need a cosmetic dental procedure to correct them. The good news is that this is a relatively easy problem for most dentists. At our Glenbrook clinic, Dr. Park uses a technique called gum contouring to correct any anomaly and give you a smile you can be proud of.
Who Performs Dental Examination?
Gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure that is performed to change the shape of gums. It involves cutting off excessive gum tissues and reshaping the gums to correct any anomaly that gives you a “gummy smile”.
Gum contouring also involves restoring gum tissue that has receded. If your gum line has receded so much that it is exposing too much of your teeth and affecting your smiles in a negative way, gum contouring can be the solution.
Most gum contouring procedures are done to remove excessive gum tissues. The majority of the procedures are also to improve smiles, but sometimes, they are done to correct a condition called altered passive eruption, whereby a permanent tooth never fully protrude.
Depending on the problem the dentist is trying to correct, gum contouring follows a few specific procedures. In most instances, the dentist uses a laser to trim away and shape gums to look neater and prime for attractive smiles.
Cutting and shaping gums may sound complicated and painful. However, gum contouring is not a complicated or painful procedure. In our Glenbrook dental center, it is always a straightforward procedure that will be completed in one visit.
Who Needs Gum Contouring?
Gum contouring is primarily a cosmetic procedure, so getting one is a highly personal decision. Some people with gummy smiles are okay with their smiles and may be unwilling to undergo a cosmetic procedure to improve them. The procedure is for individuals who are not so happy or confident about their smiles because of the size and shape of their gums.
If you have uneven gums, then you can benefit from the gum contouring procedure. The procedure will also be great for you if your gums cover too much or too little of your teeth. If you are concerned about how your gums affect your smiles, then you definitely need gum contouring.
It is also important to note at this point that gum contouring can be a medical necessity in a few instances. An experienced dentist will recommend gum contouring when it is necessary for oral health reasons. More on this later.
How Do You Know If You Need Gum Contouring?
You are likely a good candidate for gum contouring if the size, shape, and appearance of your gums interfere with your smiles negatively. If you have any of the following conditions, then gum contouring can be a beneficial procedure for you:
- Your teeth appear too short because of your gums
- Too much of your gums show when you smile
- You have uneven gums
- One or more of your teeth look longer than others
- You have altered passive eruption (your permanent teeth fail to fully erupt, looking tiny and partially hidden by your gum tissues)
- You want to improve the appearance of your smile, and an experienced dentist recommends gum contouring.
What Causes Uneven Gums?
Uneven gums are the commonest reason people go for gum contouring. Whether your gums are too low or too high, they will affect your smile. But there are specific things that cause uneven gums, including genetics, certain prescription drugs, and a particular health challenge.
Some people’s gums are naturally uneven. If your parents or close relations have uneven gums, then your case is most likely caused by genetic factors. There are prescription drugs that can affect your gums and cause unevenness. If you recently noticed an alteration of your gum lines after starting a certain prescription drug, then you should speak with your physician.
Gum recession is another primary reason for uneven gums. It is also an issue you need to pay special attention to. Gum recession is simply a condition in which gum tissues pull back from a tooth, leaving the tooth’s root exposed. The affected tooth will look longer and unattractive.
The problems with gum recession do not end with exposed tooth roots and longer, unattractive teeth. It can lead to serious dental issues like tooth decay or tooth loss. You should also pay serious attention to gum recession because it can be a sign of periodontal disease, which is basically the deterioration of the supporting structure of the teeth (gums and bone). Identifying the underlying condition and treating it will prevent severe issues like tooth loss.
Is Gum Contouring Only For Aesthetic Appeal?
As mentioned already, gum contouring is mostly a cosmetic procedure. This means it is mostly for aesthetic appeal. We’ve also hinted that gum contouring is not only for aesthetic appeal. In few instances, getting gum contouring can be a medical necessity.
A good instance is when you’ve suffered severe gum recession – leaving your tooth’s root exposed is dangerous. An experienced dentist will recommend gum contouring to protect your tooth and improve your smile at the same time.
When Is Gum Contouring Medically Necessary?
Gum contouring may become medically necessary when you have periodontal disease. Most times, dentists choose to try treating the gum disease non-surgically. Treatment can start with antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection. A dental cleaning can also be used to restore gum health.
If the initial non-surgical methods of treating periodontal disease do not work, pocket reduction surgery on the gum and surrounding bone may be recommended to save the tooth. A regeneration procedure may also be recommended to regrow the damaged bone and gum tissue.
Gum contouring can be part of a series of surgical treatments for gum diseases and related issues. If it is deemed a medical necessity, dental insurance may cover the cost. If this is not the case, you will pay for it just like any other cosmetic procedure.
Is Gum Contouring Different From Gum Shaping?
Gum contouring and gum shaping are two similar terms that are even used interchangeably by dentists. Most times, however, gum contouring is used to describe the procedure when a scalpel is used, while gum shaping is used when lasers are used for the procedure.
Some people distinguish between gum contouring and gum shaping based on the site of operation. Gum contouring is regarded as a strictly cosmetic procedure that is performed on the front teeth or part of the mouth that shows when you smile. Gum shaping, on the other hand, can happen anywhere, including the parts of the mouth that are hidden when you smile.
Depending on the dentist you are working with, gum contouring and gum shaping can mean the same time. Even if your dentist makes a distinction between the two terms, the most important thing is to get the result you desire. The approaches and objectives of both are similar. You shouldn’t be concerned about the term used by your dentist, as long as the desired result is achieved.
Who Performs Gum Contouring?
Gum contouring can be performed by most general dentists, but it is mostly recommended and performed by periodontists (gum specialists) and cosmetic dentists. It is a pretty straightforward procedure, so the chances of complications are almost non-existent.
Though gum contouring is a straightforward procedure, it is still important to know about the knowledge and experience of the dentist. Our dentist in Glenbrook Dental Center, Dr. Park, is an excellent dental surgeon. If you plan to undergo a gum contouring procedure in our practice, you can be sure that you are in good hands.
Gum Contouring: What to Expect
If you think you are a good candidate for gum contouring, the first step is to book an appointment. If you choose Glenbrook Dentals, here is a breakdown of what you can expect
If you’ve never been to our dental center before or you want to discuss gum contouring with Dr. Park for the first time, the initial consultation will not take too long. It will be more like a short interview. The dentist may ask why you want to get gum contouring. If the dentist is recommending gum contouring, he/she will explain why it is important and the benefits it will offer you.
The initial consultation with our experienced dentist will also include an examination. The dentist will examine your gums to ascertain if gum contouring is needed. If the dentist believes that gum contouring will be beneficial to you, a day will be fixed for the procedure.
The dentist will also discuss the procedure with you before the appointment is made. He will explain how you can prepare for the procedure – the most important thing is to keep your mouth clean when coming for the gum contouring procedure.
The Actual Gum Contouring Procedure
At Glenbrook, just like in other top dental practices, gum contouring is a one-visit procedure. When you arrive for your procedure, the staff will welcome you, and you will have a friendly chat with the dentist before getting to the dentist’s table.
You will remain awake throughout the gum contouring procedure, but it will be painless. Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the gum tissue and surrounding area. Depending on the condition of your gum and the desired result, the dentist will work with the right tools.
In a typical gum contouring procedure to correct uneven gums, the dentist uses a soft tissue laser or scalpel to remove excess gum tissue. Our experienced dentist will carefully shape your gum line to expose just the right parts of your teeth. Ideally, sutures will be used to hold the gum tissue in place.
If you have suffered gum recession, the gum contouring procedure will involve adding gum tissue to your gumlines. The dentist will remove tissue from another part of your mouth and use it to lengthen your gumline. The new tissue will be restructured and shaped properly to make your gumline symmetrical.
The time it will take to complete a gum contouring procedure will depend on a number of factors, including the condition of your gum line and the desired result. On average, a gum contouring procedure takes between one and two hours.
Does Gum Contouring Hurt During and After the Procedure?
We’ve already stated that gum contouring at Glenbrook Dental Center is a painless procedure. Local anesthesia is used to numb the gum area the dentist will work on, so you won’t feel any pain when the dentist is working on your gums.
After the gum contouring procedure, you may feel some tenderness and numbness. As the anesthesia wears off, you may actually feel some discomfort, but it is not often serious. Again, the amount of discomfort you may feel will depend on how much of your gums had to be removed or reshaped.
After the Gum Contouring Procedure
Recovery after Gum Contouring
Recovery after a gum contouring procedure should be smooth if you do the right things. Following a successful procedure at Glenbrook, our dentist will advise you on what to do and what to avoid in order to heal properly without any incident.
Immediately after your surgery, it is important that you limit your activities and have a rest properly. You can take your time before going home. It will be better to make arrangements for your journey back home. You can come with someone who will drive you home or make arrangements for a taxi.
Here are a few more tips that can make your recovery process smoother:
- Use an over-the-counter pain reliever to manage the mild pain and discomfort that can come after the surgery. Your dentist will prescribe the right ones to use, and it is important you use them as directed by the physician.
- Apply an ice pack or cold compress to your mouth for a couple of days after your surgery. Do that for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. It can help to reduce pain and swelling, but make sure your dentist approves of it.
- Eat soft, cool food like eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, and soft vegetables for the first few days after surgery. You also need to avoid spicy as well as any food/fruit with seeds until your gums heal.
- Brush and floss very gently every day. You can also use an alcohol-free mouthwash.
- Avoid smoking, drinking, or using straw for a few days after the surgery.
- Follow your dentist’s instructions religiously. Ideally, the dentist will give instructions on how to brush your teeth during the healing process/recovery period.
- Call the dentist immediately if you notice excessive swelling or bleeding. You can also call if you have any genuine concerns after the procedure.
Risks of Gum Contouring
Let’s face it – no surgery is without risks. Though gum contouring is a pretty straightforward and safe procedure, there are a few risks you should be aware of, including:
- Allergic Reaction – Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the anesthetic used for the surgery. This happens on rare occasions, but it is a possibility.
- Relapse of Gum Tissue – While gum contouring corrects uneven gums and related issues, it can also result in a relapse of gum tissue. Again, this doesn’t often happen, especially when an experienced dentist like Dr. Park performs the surgery.
Gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure that can significantly improve your smile. If you are unhappy with your smile and you know that your gums are the major problem or a part of it, gum contouring can be a beneficial procedure for you.
Gum contouring can correct a wide range of issues that relate to gum tissues. It can involve removing excess gum tissue or supplementing gum tissues in the case of gum recession. The goal is always to reshape the gum and improve the smile.
Do you think gum contouring will improve your smile? The right thing to do is to consult a dentist to be sure that you are a good candidate for the procedure. Though it is a cosmetic dental procedure, it is not expensive. It is also a very safe procedure, especially when you are treated by a skilled and experienced dentist like Dr. Park.
Q: Does gum contouring work for all kinds of gum issues?
Gum contouring can correct a wide range of gum issues, but it may not solve every problem affecting the gum. Most times, periodontal diseases require extensive restorative procedures, and gum contouring may be just one of several procedures the dentist or periodontist will recommend. Even when used for cosmetic purposes only, gum contouring will only take care of the gumline – other procedures may be needed to achieve a great smile.
Q: Is gum contouring really necessary?
If you are unhappy with your gummy smile and want to see an improvement, gum contouring can be very helpful. However, it is regarded as a cosmetic procedure, meaning that getting it is mostly a personal decision. There are also instances gum contouring is considered a medical necessity. Gum recession, for instance, can expose a tooth’s root and compromise your oral health. In such an instance, an experienced dentist may recommend gum contouring to correct the problem and prevent further damage to the gum tissue and your overall oral health.
Q: Where should I go for gum contouring?
Q: Is gum contouring a painful procedure?
Gum contouring is not a painful procedure. Before the dentist starts cutting off excess gum tissue or adding tissue to your gums, the gum area will be numbed with local anesthesia. It is common to feel some tenderness during the procedure, but it will be a painless experience. After the procedure, when the anesthesia begins to wear off, you will likely feel some tenderness and slight discomfort. Mild pain is also possible, and you can use over-the-counter medication to take care of it. You can also use an ice pack to minimize pain and swelling. Recovery should be smooth if you follow the dentist’s instructions religiously.
Q: Is gum contouring a safe or risky procedure?
Gum contouring is a relatively safe dental procedure. Ideally, it involves only the gums, so there is little or no threat to your teeth and overall oral health. Even when tissue has to be removed from another part of your mouth to supplement gum tissue, it is still a very safe procedure. This is not to say that there are no risks associated with gum contouring. Just like in other surgical procedures, a few things can go wrong. Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the anesthetic used for the procedure – this happens rarely, and if you have had surgery in the past without such experience, then you have nothing to worry about. Gum recession is another risk factor you should be aware of, but it is also rare. Infection is even rarer.
Q: Is gum contouring an expensive procedure?
Gum contouring is not an expensive procedure. Because it is a cosmetic procedure, some people erroneously assume that it will cost lots of money. This is not often the case. Depending on where you are, the cost of the procedure can be negligible. However, there are important factors that determine the overall cost, such as the dental practice you choose, the expertise and rates of the dentist, and the complexity of the procedure. If you are getting gum contouring as a part of a complex restorative procedure, the costs of the other procedures involved will affect how much you will pay.
Q: How many dental visits does it take to complete a gum contouring procedure?
Ideally, gum contouring should be completed in one dental visit. A typical gum contouring procedure for aesthetic appeal can last between 1 and 2 hours. The actual length will depend on the complexity of the procedure, but you can always expect it to be completed in one day. If you also follow your dentist’s instructions dutifully after the procedure, you will recover fully in no time
Q: What should I do to make the healing process smooth?
If you have your gum contouring procedure in our Glenbrook practice, Dr. Park will tell you what you need to do to make the healing process smooth. The experienced doctor will recommend some pain relievers to use and techniques to manage pain and swelling after the procedure. You are also advised to eat soft, cool foods. You are also advised to avoid alcohol and smoking. You also have to brush and floss very gently or use an alcohol-free mouthwash.
Q: What are my other options besides gum contouring?
Gum contouring is the most reliable cosmetic procedure to correct uneven gums and related issues that affect smiles. If you are not sure that it will solve your problem, the right thing to do is book an appointment. After examining your teeth, our experienced dentist will recommend the right solution for you. Maybe, teeth whitening and dental bonding may be enough to correct your smile. If the dentist insists that gum contouring is necessary for aesthetic or medical reasons, you should go through with the procedure. It is safe and beneficial.
Booking Your Appointment
Request An Appointment
Discover how our team at Glenbrook Dental can guide you along your dental health path. When you request an appointment, our receptionist will return your message within 1 business day. Her name is Marj.