Gum contouring (or gum sculpting) is an in-office procedure that reshapes the gum line. The dentist will usually numb the area with a local anesthetic and then use a scalpel or laser to remove or add tissue as needed.
Patients who undergo this cosmetic dentistry treatment can expect to experience a bit of pain and tenderness afterward. However, over-the-counter pain medications and icing can help reduce discomfort and swelling.
What Is Gum Contouring?
Gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure that involves reshaping the gum line and removing excess tissue to reveal more of your teeth. It’s commonly performed for aesthetic reasons, but can also be used to treat gum diseases and improve the health of your smile.
Gum reshaping is typically a painless and fast procedure, thanks to diode laser technology that cuts through soft tissue layers with precision. It’s an in-office procedure that can take one to two hours to complete.
If you’re considering gum reshaping to improve the health of your smile, it’s important to first talk to your dentist about your oral health history. For instance, if your periodontal disease has caused your gum tissue to recede, it’s best to address this issue before proceeding with the surgery.
What Are the Benefits of Gum Contouring?
If you have a smile with an uneven gum line that makes your teeth look short or disproportionate, you can undergo a cosmetic dental procedure called gum contouring to create a more beautiful symmetry. Your dentist can remove excess gum tissue to reveal more of your natural teeth, giving you a healthy, attractive smile that will make you feel confident in the way that you look.
The dentist will numb your mouth with a local anesthetic to perform the gum contouring procedure. They will use a scalpel or a diode laser to carefully sculpt the gum line and remove excess tissue. Laser technology is less invasive than scalpels because it cauterizes as it cuts, minimizing bleeding and swelling after the procedure.
Gum contouring can also improve your oral health by removing pockets that trap food particles and increase your risk of periodontal disease. It can also make it easier to brush and floss your teeth, so that you can maintain good oral hygiene and prevent future dental problems.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Gum Contouring?
A good candidate for gum contouring should enjoy overall good oral health. This includes having no active gum disease that could cause a serious problem with your teeth or gums after surgery. Depending on how extensive the procedure is, healing times could range from weeks to a month or more.
Typically, patients choose gum reshaping for cosmetic reasons. However, this treatment can also be an effective solution for gum recession. This issue can expose parts of your tooth roots and lead to a wide array of dental problems.
Patients who experience this issue should visit their dentists for a gum contouring consultation. Your dentist can tell you if this cosmetic treatment is right for your smile goals and recommend other procedures for a complete improvement. This treatment cannot affect the size of your teeth or fix other issues that might require extensive restorative care or orthodontics.
What Are the Risks of Gum Contouring?
While any surgery carries risks, gum contouring is one of the safest oral surgeries available. The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia (an injection in the mouth to numb the area being treated – similar to having a filling done). The dentist will use either a scalpel or laser to remove and reshape excess gum tissue.
Some discomfort is expected after the procedure, which can vary depending on how much of the tissue was removed or reshaped. Generally, pain after gum contouring is minimal and can be alleviated with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
During recovery, it’s important to follow post-surgical instructions. Avoid exercising, as too much physical activity can send too much blood to the surgical site and cause swelling. Brushing can also irritate the healing gum tissue, so be sure to use an extra soft toothbrush and brush gently.
How Much Will Gum Contouring Cost?
Gum contouring is an elective procedure, so it’s not covered by dental insurance. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$350 per tooth to have this treatment done by a dentist or periodontist. Factors that influence the cost include your geographic location, the amount of work needed, and how much experience the dentist or periodontist has.
During the procedure, the doctor will use a scalpel or laser to remove or sculpt the gum tissue around your teeth. This can lengthen your teeth or resculpt your gumline to expose more of the natural tooth structure. The surgery typically takes one to two hours. You’ll likely need to eat soft foods like yogurt, soup, applesauce, and pudding for a few days after the surgery.
The doctor may schedule a follow-up visit a few days or weeks after the surgery to ensure your gums are healing properly. They may also prescribe an antibiotic mouth rinse to reduce your risk of infection.
Will Gum Contouring Be Permanent?
An uneven gum line can detract from the overall beauty of your smile. Luckily, you can correct a high or low gum line with gum contouring, a simple cosmetic procedure. This treatment involves reshaping your gum tissue to make it proportional to the teeth, and removing any excess that exposes too much of your tooth’s structure.
Typically, dentists use a scalpel for this surgery, but some practices now have laser technology that significantly reduces the risk of bleeding and shortens recovery time. The lasers also seal the blood vessels, lowering the chance of infection while sterilizing the area.
Gum contouring is usually a quick and painless process, as the dentist uses local anesthesia to numb the area. After the procedure, patients may experience some discomfort for a few days, but over-the-counter pain relievers can manage it. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled a week or so after the surgery to check on the healing progress and prevent any infections.