What Is Gum Contouring?

There are many different ways to beautify your smile and feel more confident. If you have always felt self-conscious about your grin or worried that your smile is “gummy” and distracts from the rest of your face, one of the potential solutions is gum contouring. Here’s what every patient should know about gum contouring.

What Is Gum Contouring?

Gum contouring is one type of cosmetic dentistry procedure. This process will alter the shape and appearance of your gums. This could include removing excess gum tissue that covers up the surface of your tooth or restoring portions of your gums that have receded to the point too much of your tooth is visible.

What Causes Gums to Be Uneven?

There are many different reasons why your gums might be too big or too small in different parts of your smile. When gums come down too far, it can make your teeth appear disproportionately small. This is typically due to genetics, but it can also occur as a result of other health problems.

Gums can also be too long and lead the tooth surface to appear too big. This can happen due to genetics, but it is most common in patients who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease or gum recession. While gums that come down too low are not necessarily a pressing concern, gum recession is. Over time, the gums can recede to the point that the tooth root is exposed, which makes your mouth much more vulnerable to tooth decay.

Who Can Benefit from Gum Contouring?

Many different patients can benefit from the gum contouring procedure. Because it is cosmetic in most cases, it is up to you whether or not you would like to experience the boost of confidence that comes with a smile that you love. If you have uneven gums, if your gums come down too far, or if your gums are receding, make an appointment today. Your dentist will assess your oral health and be able to give you personalized advice.

What Are the Benefits of Gum Contouring?

There are numerous benefits of gum contouring, including:

  • Your smile will be more aesthetically pleasing, as uneven portions of your gums will be smoothed out and an appropriate amount of tooth surface will be revealed. Gum contouring does not just help reverse the appearance of a smile that is gummy, it also evens out smiles with a regular amount of gum tissue.
  • Beyond the visual impact of gum contouring, it can also be a necessary procedure to prevent gum disease from worsening or tooth decay. Gums that are proportionate to your teeth are able to serve their purpose properly and protect the root of the tooth.
  • Compared to other types of cosmetic dental procedures and periodontal procedures, gum contouring is a relatively fast and straightforward process. Most procedures can be taken care of in a single visit, and your recovery period will not be extensive.

Is Gum Contouring Painful?

During the gum contouring procedure itself, you will have access to numbing medication so that you can stay as comfortable as possible. During your recovery, you might feel slight discomfort depending on the extent of the work that was performed. If a large amount of gum tissue was cut away or grafted, you might feel more discomfort. You will be able to return to your day almost immediately after, and any discomfort can be taken care of with ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers.

What Is the Recovery Process Like?

What your recovery looks like will largely depend on how much gum tissue was removed or added and how much of your mouth was contoured. Expect your mouth to be tender as your gums heal. In general, it’s a good idea to eat soft or liquid foods for the two days following your procedure. Your dentist will give you detailed instructions on what foods to eat and avoid, as well as how to maintain the treatment site.

What Makes a Good Candidate for Gum Reshaping or Gum Contouring?

You should consult your dentist for detailed guidance on whether or not you’re a good fit for gum contouring. However, there are some factors that improve your chances of a great result, including:

  • Oral Health: If you have healthy gums and teeth otherwise, you will be an excellent candidate for gum contouring. If you have existing gum disease and gum contouring is part of your treatment plan, your dentist will ensure that you are in good enough oral health to have it performed. 
  • Cost: In some cases, dental contouring is covered by insurance, like when your gums are receding to the point that your teeth are being compromised. However, if you are having it done solely for cosmetic reasons, you might have to pay out of pocket. 
  • Cosmetic Needs: Gum contouring is an excellent way to make your smile look more even or elongate the appearance of your teeth. However, it will not change the color of your teeth or gums, alter the position of the tooth, or change the shape of the tooth itself. If that is what you are looking for, another procedure might be a better fit.