What Is Gum Contouring, Exactly?

Just like patients who suffer from insecurity surrounding misaligned teeth, many of our patients are concerned about their gum lines. If your gums are too low or too high, it can make you unhappy with your smile—however, there are options for remedying this problem. Gum contouring procedures reshape the tissue in the gums and help even out the gum line to help you achieve a smile you are proud to show off. 

 Gum shaping or gum contouring

Deciding to go through with a gum contouring surgery, however, is a highly personal decision and it’s important to discuss it with your dentist to ensure you’re a candidate. If you are dissatisfied with your gums, then call our office today to schedule a consultation. The experts here at Dr. Marchbanks’s office strive to give all patients a smile you are proud of, so let us help you! 


What causes uneven gums? 


Each tooth consists of a crown and a root. The crown is what you see when you look in the mirror and smile, while the root is the part embedded to your jaw and covered by the gum. Where the tooth meets the gum is called the gum line. There are a number of factors that can cause your gums to be too low or too high. 


Long gums, for one, make your teeth appear smaller than they actually are. Sometimes this is referred to as having a “gummy smile”. Many times, this condition is caused by genetics or an abnormal eruption of the teeth. Other risk factors for long gums include some types of prescription medications or health problems.  


On the other hand, gum recession results in gums that are too high and that make your teeth look too large for your mouth. More alarmingly, if the gum pulls back too far it can expose the root of the tooth, which can lead to significant tooth decay or disease. Periodontal diseases, which are infections of the structures around the teeth (including the gums), is the leading cause of gum recession. If you suffer from gum recession as a result of poor oral health, it is important to address the immediate issues of any infections or diseases before moving on to gum contouring.  


Is gum contouring purely cosmetic? 


Some of our patients are concerned that this procedure is purely cosmetic, and therefore reflects on their vanity. But we don’t believe that’s the case at all! 


While technically classified as a cosmetic procedure, there are significant oral health benefits to ensuring your gums are the proper length. As mentioned above, gums that are too short can leave your root exposed. And if the root of the tooth is exposed, bad bacteria or other particles such as food or debris can easily get caught in the exposed area. This leads to in increased occurrence of several oral health diseases and could lead to the death of the tooth. Ensuring the roots of the teeth are protected is essential to good oral health! 


Is gum contouring painful? 


The gums will be numbed during this procedure, so you should feel little pain throughout. In addition, there are various methods of gum contouring at varying degrees of invasiveness. Some practitioners now use lasers instead of the traditional scalpel method, for instance. And depending on the method, recovery time will vary. The best thing you can do is apply ice periodically in 15-minute increments to help reduce swelling once you’re back home! If you are in severe pain, reach out to your dentist to ensure there are not any serious issues.

Also published on Medium.