This procedure uses specialized tools or a laser to perform ablation, which removes excess gum tissue growing over the teeth.
Today, laser-based procedures have been gaining more momentum, as the technology helps seal the tissue to reduce bleeding, creates a more precise shape and better targets hollowed areas or pockets where bacteria can congregate.
For health reasons, gum contouring slows the progression of tooth decay. For patients with periodontal disease, removing the excess tissue can limit its recurrence.
Visually, the procedure helps lengthen and expose crowns to create a brighter, more even smile that reveals all teeth and removes the large strip of gum tissue across the top.
However, not all patients have an even amount of excess tissue obscuring their teeth. As a result, the gum line is uneven, with more tissue present in certain areas. Gum contouring helps shape the spots where tissue extends lower than others, resulting in a straighter, more symmetrical smile.
In other instances, gum contouring can also address a gum line that’s too high due to gum recession. The tissue pulls back, exposing the tooth’s roots and making your teeth look too long. This condition also hastens the effects of tooth decay, could be a sign of periodontal disease or bone degeneration.
Beyond the aesthetic aspect, having too much gum tissue is a health concern for certain patients. Excess tissue can trap food particles, which are difficult to remove via brushing and flossing, and may accelerate tooth decay. Patients living with this condition often report regular gum irritation, are more susceptible to periodontal disease or gingivitis.
Due to these factors, a dentist may recommend gum reshaping before a crown lengthening, pocket reduction or another regenerative procedure. Long term, trimming back the gum line lessens the occurrence of tooth decay and periodontal issues, better preserves existing teeth and helps your teeth stay healthier, longer.
Unlike other cosmetic dental procedures, gum contouring often involves a single visit with a relatively short recovery time. It’s important to note that gum contouring is permanent, as tissue does not regrow.
The procedure may involve the use of a scalpel, laser or radiosurgery to remove the excess tissue. Although it’s generally painless, some patients report soreness afterward. You may be prescribed a painkiller for recovery. Depending on the patient and procedure, it may take days to weeks to fully heal.