Typically, the gums are meant to delicately frame the teeth. The gum tissue naturally forms a symmetrical scallop above the crowns of your teeth. When the scallop shape is unbalanced or uneven due to gum recession or excess tissue, it will draw the observer’s eye. Gum contouring can be done by adding tissue with grafts or removing tissue with a gum lift. A gum lift, also called crown lengthening, is a cosmetic dental procedure that can eliminate unwanted tissue and reshape the gum line for a pleasing look. According to a research study conducted by Kelton Global, 48% of adults believe a smile is the most memorable feature of a first impression. Similar studies have even reported that individuals are more likely to trust a person with a balanced, beautiful smile. Cosmetic gum contouring can help you achieve the results you want and give you a smile that others are sure to remember. In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Gum shaping statistics
- The initial consultation
- About the gum shaping procedure
- How to know if a gum shaping is right for you
- Combining a gum lift with procedures for other dental problems
A Look at Statistics: Cosmetic Dental Enhancements vs Facial Cosmetic Surgery
A recent poll by the American Academy of Periodontology showed that people are seven times more likely to undergo smile enhancement procedures than facelifts or other facial cosmetic surgery. When it came to eyelid surgeries, cosmetic dental treatments outnumbered them five to one. This is likely because most individuals know the impact a smile can make, especially during first impressions.
Your Gum Reshaping Consultation: What to Expect
Before the gum contouring process can begin, a thorough examination must be completed. Your dentist will assess your overall oral health and take measurements to ensure that gum reshaping can achieve the results you desire. In addition to dental x-rays, your dentist will take several clinical photographs.
One thing your dentist will look at is the cementum enamel junction or the CEJ. This is where the crown of the tooth meets the root. Your doctor must make sure that the CEJ will not be exposed once gum shaping is complete. If it will, in fact, be exposed, then he or she can discuss additional treatments that will address this issue.
In some cases, gum shaping may be completed by a skilled cosmetic dentist. However, in many cases, your dentist will work with a gum specialist or an oral surgeon, who will complete the actual gum contouring procedure.
The Gum Shaping Procedure
To begin the gum reshaping procedure, the doctor administers local anesthesia for your comfort. Next, he or she will determine exactly how much gum tissue to trim away, paying close attention to your natural contours and unique dental anatomy. Excess tissue is removed and the remaining gum line is reshaped to achieve a more balanced, symmetrical appearance.
In some cases, the underlying bone may need to be slightly altered. If this step is skipped, then the gum tissue could regrow, and the results of the procedure could be lost. Reshaping the bone essentially tells the gum tissue where to settle. The position of the CEJ will determine whether or not the bone will need to be adjusted.
How Do You Know If Gum Contouring Is Right for You?
When the gums are your biggest concern, gum contouring is likely necessary to improve your smile. Virtually anyone with a “gummy” smile or an uneven gum line can benefit from this treatment.
To be eligible for a gum reshaping, candidates must be in good oral health. Gum shaping is strictly cosmetic in nature. Therefore, if decay, gum disease, or other issues are present, they must be treated first. Undergoing gum shaping when your oral health is poor will only exacerbate the problems and increase the risk of further damage.
Combining Gum Contouring with Other Treatments
In many cases, patients choose to combine gum reshaping with other cosmetic treatments for truly comprehensive, remarkable results. Some of the most common treatments performed in conjunction with gum contouring include:
- Tooth contouring: This procedure can alter the height or width of a tooth to help it blend it better with your smile. Tooth contouring involves removing minute amounts of enamel, and then polishing the teeth to a natural looking shine.
- Dental bonding: The application of composite resin material can conceal aesthetic imperfections like chips, cracks, stains, and more.
- Porcelain veneers Commonly done with gum contouring, tooth veneers are thin but durable restorations that adhere to the front surfaces of the teeth. These custom restorations can help patients achieve a beautifully balanced smile and are particularly helpful when camouflaging the CEJ. They are also used when the teeth look long.
- Teeth whitening: Following a gum lift, many patients wish to take their smile to the next level with professional teeth whitening. Be sure to follow all recommended guidelines and avoid over bleaching the teeth.
- Gum disease treatment Periodontal disease can cause gum recession and open triangles between the teeth. Gum specialists will often do gum reshaping to balance out the scallops with local anesthetic when treating gum problems. This cosmetic procedure has a fast recovery time and dental insurance frequently pays for it.
- Dental bridgework When a patient suffers tooth loss, the dentist will commonly modify the teeth and gums to give better tissue shape.
Learn More about Cosmetic Gum Contouring
If excess gum tissue is detracting from the beauty of your smile, gum shaping could be the dental care solution. Discuss your treatment options with a dentist near you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us at (847) 234-0517. Dr. James Fondriest is a skilled cosmetic dentist serving the Chicago, IL area.