The gum lines can vary from person to person. Some have high; others have low, and in certain cases, an uneven gum line. Fortunately, there are ways to change your gum line if you are self-conscious about it. One of the options for reshaping your gum line is gum contouring, also known as gingival sculpting or gingivoplasty. In some cases, your dentist may even recommend it, especially if you have gum problems that are affecting your oral health.
What is Gum Contouring?
Gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure that can alter the appearance of your gums. A dentist uses the procedure to remove excess gum tissue that is giving you a “gummy” smile or to restore gum tissue that has receded and is exposing too much portion of the teeth.
A periodontist or a cosmetic dentist is usually the one who performs the procedure. It is an in-office procedure usually completed in a single visit.
In most cases, you will be awake throughout the procedure. The dentist will administer local anaesthesia to numb the gum area before beginning. The doctor will use a soft tissue laser or scalpel to remove excess gum tissue and reshape the gum line to expose more of the tooth. Sutures may be used to secure the gum tissue.
If your gums have receded, then your dentist may take tissue from another part of your mouth, such as your palate. This tissue is secured around your teeth during surgery to lengthen and restructure your gum line.
The length of the procedure depends on the extent of contouring and the amount of resculpting required. The process typically takes 1 to 2 hours.
Recovery from Gum Contouring
Gum contouring recovery time typically ranges from a few days to a few weeks but will vary depending on the amount of gum tissue treated and the technique used by the doctor. When dental scalpels are used, patient recovery time is generally longer than when contouring with lasers.
Changes to the patient’s diet may also be required while the gums heal. Hard or crunchy foods, as well as foods containing small seeds that could become trapped under the gums, should be avoided. For several days after surgery, a soft-food diet of yogurt, pasta, ice cream, or eggs may be recommended.
While healing, daily flossing, and brushing techniques may also need to be modified. Patients should be gentler when performing their oral hygiene routine after surgery because the gums are likely to be sensitive. Mouthwashes containing alcohol, which can irritate the sensitive gums, should also be avoided during recovery.
Your dentist may recommend rinsing with saline and hydrogen peroxide to clean out debris and speed up recovery.
The cost varies depending on the extent of treatment required, as well as the local rates in your area. The cost of contouring one tooth can range from $50 to $350, while that of the entire front teeth can range from $100 to $3,000. Gum contouring is considered a cosmetic procedure and is unlikely to be covered by your dental insurance unless deemed medically necessary by your dentist.