Having a beautiful smile is important not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because it raises self-esteem, improves confidence and benefits mental health. If you're born with uneven gums, however, it might be more difficult than you'd expect to develop the confidence to smile. Fortunately, procedures such as cosmetic gum reshaping and contouring are possible thanks to modern dental technology. Periodontal gum contouring is performed for therapeutic and medical purposes, according to Consumer Guide to Dentistry.
When Is a Cosmetic Gum Procedure Appropriate?
This procedure helps patients whose gums are uneven or cover too much of their teeth. This may be caused by genetics or the use of certain prescription medications, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It results in what is commonly called a "gummy" smile, with teeth that appear smaller than they should. It can also be appropriate in cases where the patient's gums have receded, exposing more tooth surface than necessary.
Periodontal Gum Contouring
This is mainly a medical procedure used to counter decay, tooth loss, gingival infections or periodontal disease caused by gum inconsistencies. Receding gums leave the teeth exposed and vulnerable, while the occurrence of pockets between the teeth provide an ideal location for bacteria to accumulate. Periodontal gum reshaping removes these and seals the tissue to prevent future problems.
How It Works
Gum reshaping is performed in the offices of most qualified dentists and periodontists. The patient receives a mild local anesthetic to numb the gums, and uses a soft tissue laser to trip away the excess gum tissue. Crown lengthening can help with a "gummy smile," according to the American Academy of Periodontology. The laser is used to recontour and then seal the tissue to create the ideal shape and prevent ongoing bleeding. The dentist can also use the laser to eradicate hollows that trap bacteria to prevent future infections.
Gum Contouring Costs
The costs involved in the procedure depend to a large extent on the severity of the problem. Reshaping costs range from $600 to $2000 for a single tooth, according to Top Dentists. Some insurance companies do not cover a portion of the costs for the cosmetic procedure, while others may only provide assistance when there's a medical need for the treatment.
After having your gums reshaped, whatever your reasons, it's important to practice good dental hygiene for several weeks after the procedure. Until the gums have fully healed, daily brushing and flossing may need to be more gentle than usual to avoid irritating the sensitive tissue. This could cause bleeding and the development of infection. Use a gentle, cleansing mouthrinse such as Colgate Total® Mouthwash for Gum Health that kills most germs on contact without the burn of alcohol on sensitive gums.
There's no need to just live with the smile you have. Modern dental science offers a wide range of possible treatments to improve both your appearance and your health. Your dentist can help you decide whether gum reshaping is right for you.