Over the years, cosmetic dentistry has developed several treatments to improve the look of your smile by altering the size, shape, color, alignment, and spacing of your teeth. In fact, the vast majority of cosmetic dental treatments focus solely on improving the appearance of the teeth. However, there is one cosmetic dental procedure that actually improves the aesthetics of your smile by focusing on your gums instead of your teeth.
A gingivectomy, more commonly known as a gum lift or gum contouring surgery, is a cosmetic dental procedure that removes and/or reshapes gingival tissue so that it properly supports and surrounds the tooth. Gum lifts can be performed as an individual procedure, or they may also be used in combination with other cosmetic procedures to obtain the desired treatment results. In fact, certain treatments like dental crowns or veneers will actually look better after having a cosmetic gum lift. In order to obtain the best results, however, it is highly important to pick a skilled cosmetic dentist who has extensive experience performing periodontal procedures.
Some common reasons people opt to have a gingivectomy include:
Gums are too low:
When the gums sit too low on the teeth, they can make normal-sized teeth appear small. Additionally, they can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease because bacteria are more likely to get trapped under the excess gum tissue. People with low gum tissue are commonly referred to as having “gummy smiles”. Gummy smiles are usually caused by genetics, certain health conditions, or some types of prescription drugs.
Gums are too high:
When the gums sit too high on the teeth, they can make normal-sized teeth appear large. Additionally, they are an indicator of gum disease, and can also cause tooth sensitivity and decay. Gum recession is the technical term for when the gums sit too high on the teeth, and it can be caused by gum disease, improper brushing or flossing technique, teeth grinding and clenching, and a variety of those things.
Gums are uneven:
In certain cases, there may be instances where the gum tissue is simply uneven. This may mean some teeth are affected by gum recession, while others are affected by gummy smiles, and so on and so forth. In short, this just means the gum disease simply needs to be adjusted so that it is consistent.
When having a cosmetic gum lift, you will be given local anesthetics to keep you numb. You may also be offered varying levels of dental sedation to keep you calm during the procedure. Once you are comfortable, your cosmetic dentist will use a dental laser to remove excess gum tissue, as well as to reshape the remaining tissue. Dental lasers cauterize the blood vessels at the same time they remove or reshape tissue, meaning there is no bleeding or need for stitches.
Although dental lasers have greatly improved the cosmetic gum lift procedure, there is still a brief recovery period. Your cosmetic dentist will provide you with post-operative guidelines to follow after your gum lift. In most cases, these guidelines will recommend eating soft foods, keeping the treatment area clean, and using certain pain medications.
Overall, cosmetic gum procedures are intended to remove and reshape gingival tissue to improve the aesthetics of your smile. They can be performed alone or in combination with other treatments, however using an experienced cosmetic dentist is the key to obtaining great results. If you believe your gums are hindering the appearance of your smile, then a gum lift may just be the perfect cosmetic dental treatment for you.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.