Even if a person has teeth that are straight, healthy, and symmetrical, the beauty of their smile may be diminished if the gum line is uneven or falls too far below the lip line. Many dentists refer to gums that extend too far down as a "gummy" smile. It can make the teeth look small and cause people to feel self-conscious about the appearance of their smiles. Ideally, the gums should appear even and smooth, and should act as a frame to complement a person's smile, rather than as a distraction from it. Fortunately, a gummy smile can now be corrected with cosmetic dentistry procedures such as gum contouring.
Laser Gum Contouring Procedure
In the past, patients who were troubled with "gummy" smiles could have the prominence of their gums reduced with a scalpel, which could cause bleeding and an uncomfortable recovery. Now, with the advent of laser dentistry, and tools such as the diode laser, patients can have their gums sculpted to perfectly accent their smiles in a fast, simple, and virtually painless procedure.
To begin the laser gum recontouring process, the patient's mouth is numbed with a local anesthetic to eliminate any discomfort. The dentist will then use a diode laser to gently cut away excess gum tissue and sculpt a more uniform, scalloped gum line. Diode lasers cauterize while they cut, which means less bleeding and a dramatically reduced chance of infection for patients. The entire gum lifting procedure can be completed in just one brief visit to the dentist's office.
Laser Gum Contouring Recovery
After his or her gum lifting procedure, a patient may experience sore or swollen gums for up to a week. The discomfort should be minimal, however, and will not interfere with daily activities such as speaking, eating, or drinking. However, you should consume soft and avoid foods that are spicy or have seeds for a few days after surgery. Your dentist will recommend a pain reliever such as ibuprofen to help manage any discomfort you may feel. When brushing and flossing your teeth, be sure to be as gentle as possible.
Laser Gum Contouring Benefits and Risks
Patients who have uneven gums or gums that extend to mask a significant portion of their teeth are excellent candidates for laser gum contouring. An experienced cosmetic dentist will reshape the gum line to lengthen the teeth, reduce the amount of gum that shows when you smile, and produce a more symmetrical gum line.
Though the risk of complications during or after laser gum contouring is low if you choose a qualified cosmetic dentist to perform treatment, there are problems that can occur. Excessive bleeding and swelling of the gums and an allergic reaction to anesthesia are possible risks of treatment.
Laser Gum Contouring Costs
The cost of laser gum contouring varies greatly by patient, depending on the amount of gum that is treated. The cost can range anywhere from $300 to $3,000. If the gum line needs to be treated above just one tooth, your cost estimate would be at the lower end of the scale. If the entire gum line needs treatment and grafts are required, your cost estimate would be at the higher end of the scale. The cost of treatment can increase if additional treatments, such as placement of porcelain veneers or dental crowns, are performed in combination.
Find a Cosmetic Dentist
If you are unhappy with the appearance of a gummy smile or gums that appear uneven, gum contouring may be the solution for you. Use DocShop to research and contact a cosmetic dentist near you, and take the first step to unmasking your beautiful smile.