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What is Gum Contouring?

Gum contouring is used to treat a few different periodontal issues. It can effectively treat gum recession which if left untreated, can lead to more serious problems including tooth loss. Another reason you may consider gum contouring is an uneven gum line or a gummy smile. Gum contouring is an outpatient surgery that can be completed in your dentist’s or periodontist’s office in under an hour, depending on how extensive your individual case is.

What is gum recession?

Gum recession results from a build-up of plaque and bacteria which cause an infection in the gum pockets leading to periodontal disease. This plaque and infection irritates the gum pockets and causes the gums to pull away from the surface of the teeth. Left untreated, gum recession can lead to tooth sensitivity and the loss of jaw bone structure, eventually leading to loose or even lost teeth. Genetics and certain medications can cause recession as well as poor oral hygiene.

What is a gummy smile?

A smile may be referred to as “gummy” when there is an abnormal amount of gum tissue covering the tooth structure. Genetics can play a large role as can certain prescription medicines.

What is gum contouring?

To even up an even gumline or to treat gum recession or a gummy smile, your dentist may recommend you receive gum contouring treatment. Gum contouring can be performed using a scalpel though most doctors have the technology of a soft tissue laser in their office. When being used to treat recession, your doctor will use the laser to reshape your gums and rid their pockets of any infection which allows the gum tissue to heal closer to the tooth surface.

Your doctor will apply a topical numbing agent before administering a local anesthetic via a shot into the gums. After you are fully numb, the soft tissue laser will remove any excess tissue or reshape receding tissue. If your Dentist needs to fit a tooth with a crown or veneer and there is not enough exposed tooth structure, they may advise that you undergo crown lengthening, which is simply gum contouring.

What can you expect after gum contouring?

It is normal and expected to see some swelling and feel some tenderness at your surgery site but everything will subside a little more every day as you heal. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication for you if you cannot tolerate the pain with over the counter pain medications. It is important that you do not take anything with aspirin as aspirin is a blood thinner and can promote bleeding at your surgery site.

Your oral hygiene routine will need a little tweaking while you recover. Brushing and flossing should be done regularly but very gently and do not use any mouth rinse that contains alcohol. Rinse with warm salt water to keep the area clean and free of any food particles.

While you heal, you will be advised to keep a soft foods diet so that your gums do not become irritated or infected. Crunchy, spicy, and acidic foods will cause irritation and food with seeds should be avoided because seeds can become trapped in the gums and add to your recovery time.

Gum contouring is a quick and simple way to achieve a healthy smile that you love. Speak with your dentist to see if you would benefit from gum contouring treatment.

More information on Gum Contouring : Is Gum Contouring Right for Me?

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Iowa Dental Group Des Moines

1233 63rd Street
Des Moines, Ia 50311
(515) 277-6358


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