If you suffer from a “gummy smile,” your teeth may look small or misaligned. Well-contoured gums make your teeth look straight and aesthetically pleasing. If your teeth appear too short because of excessive gum tissue, laser gum recontouring may be the right procedure for you.
At Softouch Dental Care in Oakton, Virginia, you do not have to live with an unattractive, gummy smile. Our knowledgeable team is devoted to oral health and aesthetically-pleasing results. For more information about a gum lift, crown lengthening and other procedures, please call us at 703-319-6990 to schedule an initial cosmetic consultation.
Laser Gum Recontouring Procedure
Gum recontouring removes your excessive gum tissue to expose more of your tooth and create an even gum line and attractive smile. This procedure uses a gingivectomy, which is the removal of excessive gums, and possibly a gingivoplasty, which thins and reshapes the outer surface of your gums. A gingivoplasty is used when your excessive gum tissue is removed, but your gums still look bulky and thick.
Gum recontouring is performed with a dental laser, which is painless and does not use sutures. In several weeks, your gum tissue will heal on its own, leaving you with an attractive smile.
If your teeth still appear small after your excessive gum tissue is removed, a crown lengthening procedure may be performed. This treatment involves the removal of underlying bone, which lengthens the appearance of your teeth and prepares them for the placement of dental crowns or porcelain veneers.
What Causes a Gummy Smile?
A “gummy smile” may be the result of several factors, including:
- Short upper lips, which creates the appearance of short teeth.
- Jaw grinding (called bruxism) while you are sleeping.
- A long upper jaw bone, which can make your gums seem larger or longer than normal.
- A high lip line, which can be corrected by surgery to limit the movement of your upper lip (which is responsible for your gummy smile).
Types of Gummy Smiles
There are different types of gummy smiles. Single teeth, groups of teeth or your entire smile may be impacted by excessive gum tissue. You may be unhappy with the amount of gum tissue displayed above your front teeth or side teeth when you smile.
Our dentist will carefully plan your laser gum recontouring procedure, taking into consideration the shape, position and color of your teeth. During your initial consultation, Dr. Michael Chung will examine your mouth and recommend the best treatment for your situation and cosmetic dental goals.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Gum Contouring?
You may be interested in gum contouring treatment if your gums rest too low on your teeth. This is what is typically called a gummy smile. However, having too much of your gums showing is just one reason you might want to consider gum contouring. This procedure can also enhance the appearance of your smile by contouring protruding gums, gums that are discolored, or by refining an uneven gum line.
What is the Recovery Like After Gum Contouring?
One of the benefits of laser gum contouring is that the recovery time is very minimal. You should go home after your appointment and take it easy for the rest of the day. You can go back to work the day after your procedure. However, you may be advised to take at least a couple of days off if your job is very strenuous. To support optimal healing, it is important to follow your aftercare instructions to the letter. These are minimal due to the conservative nature of the laser treatment.
Are There Foods or Drinks I Should Avoid After Gum Contouring?
To enable your gums to heal without unnecessary inflammation, you should avoid foods that are very acidic, that have small seeds or kernels, or that are very crunchy. For example, your dentist may advise against eating strawberries or bagels with poppy seeds. In fact, it can be best to limit your food choices to those that are soft and don’t require much chewing. You may also need to refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages and consuming spicy foods.
Will I Be Able to See My Results Immediately?
You’ll see the changes in your gums immediately after your procedure is done, yes. This is one of the rewarding aspects of this treatment. Keep in mind, however, that you may experience minor swelling and redness, even some minor bleeding. This means that your results will get even better over time as your gums fully heal.
Is Gum Contouring Painful?
Before we begin your laser treatment, we numb the treatment area using a local anesthetic. These injections are just like you’d get if you needed a filling or crown. We use a tiny needle and very gentle technique to make your injections as comfortable as possible. Once the anesthetic takes effect, the rest of your gum contouring procedure will be painless. After the anesthetic wears off, your gums will probably feel sore and tender. This discomfort can be successfully managed with over-the-counter medication.
If you would like to learn more about cosmetic dentistry for gummy smiles, please contact Softouch Dental Care by calling 703-319-6990 to arrange your initial cosmetic dentistry consultation with Dr. Chung. Softouch Dental Care serves patients in Burke, Alexandria, Arlington, Oakton, Chantilly, Tysons Corner, Reston, Fairfax and the Northern Virginia area.