Dental issues are almost numerous. They are much more in number than are they normally seem to be. We often tend to forget that dental health is equally important as the other parts of our body and therefore don’t pay heed to many of the anomalies that could have been addressed at a much earlier stage! One such issue is an inappropriate gum line.

What is an Inappropriate Gum Line?

Sometimes the gums might seem to be placed too low or too high on your teeth which makes the look of your smile very awkward. Gums that cover a large portion of your teeth makes the latter look small and vice versa. Teeth appearing long due to insufficient portion of gums covering them, actually takes place due to the problem of gum recession. This is corrected basically by the cosmetic dental procedure known as gum contouring, which encompasses some amount of tissue sculpting for the purpose of reshaping the gums.

Why Do Gums Exhibit Unevenness?

The primary causes of such uneven gums can be:

  • Genetically inherited shape of the gums
  • Certain medications and specific drugs may lead to this
  • Any particular health issue

Gum Contouring – The Process

At first, a mild local anesthetic is used in order to numb your gums. your dentist would use a special pen to mark the new gum line. The very second step itself involves the exact purpose of the entire process. That is, if you are intending at a ‘crown lengthening’ procedure, then the excess gum area is trimmed away. Initially this was done using a scalpel. Today, modern dentistry prefers the use of a laser.

Need For A Gum Contouring

The difficult part of all of it however, is to decide whether to go for a gum contouring process. Let us find out how an individual is to determine whether gum contouring is at all required in his or her particular case. Since gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure, medically speaking, it does not stand out to be necessary. But it is an important tool for smile correction. Nevertheless, there are some functions of gum contouring that stand apart from smile correction. These significantly are:

  • Crown lengthening
  • Periodontal procedures like pocket reduction etc.

Are You The Right Candidate?

Generally, any individual who want to save their smile from too much exposure (when the gum line is too high) or too less exposure (when the gums are encroaching a lot more on the white teeth space), opts for a gum contouring corrective procedure.

Gum contouring, as of yet, is known to possess very little or no side effects at all. Before seating yourself for this laser procedure, you may ask your dentist to show you a preview of how your smile would appear after the gums being contoured. This is done digitally in most dental offices today so that you can distinctly arrive upon a decision regarding whether to go for the reshaping of your gums!

Reasons for having your gums contoured are:

  • To correct a ‘gummy smile’ – A smile that reveals too less a portion of your teeth make the latter seem to be much farther away from the lips than they usually are!
  • Uneven gums – Gum lines can recede in certain places due to abrasion from brushing, some physical ailment or treatments like radiations and other medications. This turns the gum line to be uneven. Heredity can be a reason too.  
  • Other Restorations – Often, tooth restoration procedures like veneers or a dental crown fits best in its place after some amount of gum contouring is done. This might yield visually amazing results!

However, certain cases of uneven gums cannot be resolved by the laser gum contouring methodology. When the dental candidate is suffering from too much of gum recession, leading to overexposure of the teeth (sometimes up to their roots!) it cannot be corrected with a laser technique.

Diode Lasers For Your Contouring

Traditionally, gum reshaping was done using a scalpel, you could experience pain after the procedure if not during it (since the use of anesthetics prevent you from feeling the pain).Today, however, dentists opt to use a laser for gum reshaping. While a laser helps to reduce the discomfort you feel after the surgery, there are certain limitations of this methodology too.

Nevertheless, a laser possesses some advantages over the traditional gum sculpting techniques. Among the unique ones are:

  • A greater and enhanced surgical accuracy
  • A painless experience as well as much lesser feeling of discomfort
  • Lesser chances of bleeding both during the procedure and recovery
  • A quick and fast recovery time

Is gum contouring a safe dental procedure?

Generally, gum contouring is considered to be extremely safe a procedure. The only minimum amount of risk that may be associated with the treatment is any allergic reaction to the local anesthetics being used. The process, as said above is completely In rare cases there might be a recurrence of gum growth or gum recession even after the procedure! A touch-up procedure is usually used to solve this.

The Two Variants Of Gum Contouring

Since uneven gums result in two types of issues (too short teeth and too exposed/too long teeth), contouring thrives to serve two purposes, namely – Crown Lengthening & undo a Gum recession. To serve these purposes, the two processes that are resorted to are:

  • Gum Lifting – Gum lifting is a technique the dentist uses a cold laser to carefully reshape your the gum line. The laser is capable of painlessly trimming away excess tissue for the purpose of revealing more enamel.
  • Gum Grafting Surgery – A gum grafting operation is intended to change the gum line when too much tooth is showing due to a result of gum recession. Tissue is harvested from some other area of the mouth and grafted around the exposed part of the tooth to restore shape as well as the protective qualities of your gums.

Grafting could be encompassed within a broader scope of treatment that is deep cleaning the pockets around your teeth! This aids in removing infection-causing bacteria from the nooks and corners of your teeth.

Today, there are several gum grafting techniques as almost 4 to 12% of adults suffer from the problem of gum recession. Doctors in such cases usually advice the patient to go for a gum grafting, both in order to better the look of your smile and more importantly, restore the protective quality of the gums and save the exposed supporting bone of your jaws.

Gum Grafts and Its Types

The popular methodologies of Gum Grafts are:

  1. Grafts using Connective-tissue:  A commonly used method of grafting, it uses the skin at the roof of your mouth (palate) and then stitched to the gum recession site.
  2. Free gingival grafts – Quite similar to the connective-tissue graft, this grafting also uses the tissue from the roof of the mouth. But instead of removing tissue from under the top layer of flesh and stitching back the flap again, a small amount of tissue is directly removed from the roof and then attached to the gum area which is being treated.
  3. Grafts from the Pedicle –  In this procedure, the tissue to be grafted is taken from the gums that surround the area that needs to be repaired instead of taking tissue from the palate.

To Conclude,

To cut a long story short, gum contouring sounds worse than it actually is. The use of anesthetics and latest technologies makes this cosmetic treatment alternative, not only smooth but also less time consuming. Today, similar to other cosmetic makeovers, you can choose to get a preview of your smile depending upon the dentistry you choose, before going in for the transformation process.

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