National Gum Care Month: Reshape Your Uneven Gums Through Gum Contouring Surgery
Everyone has a different gumline. Some are low, high, and in between. Some can even be uneven. If you feel insecure about your gumline, there are ways to change it. Gum contouring, also known as gingivoplasty or gingival sculpting, is among the options that help shape your gum line.
Your dentist may suggest it if you have issues with your gums that affect your oral health. But what does gum contouring involve? Learn more about what it is, when and how it’s done, and what the recovery is like.
What is Gum Contouring?
This is a procedure done by your dentist that resculpts and reshapes your gumline. This process involves cutting away or removing excess gum tissues around the teeth. In case of gum recession, gum contouring helps restore gum tissue.
This procedure is often elective, meaning it isn’t medically necessary. However, it’s commonly done to improve the look of the teeth, smile, and gums. But sometimes, your dentist recommends gum recontouring for oral health reasons.
When Is it Medically Necessary?
Mostly, gum contouring is done for cosmetic purposes. But sometimes, it’s a medical necessity. For example, gum contouring can be a treatment option if you’re suffering from periodontal disease. But your dentist in Whitaker Family Dentistry first tries to treat the gum disease with nonsurgical options. This might include antibiotics to kill the bacteria and infection or dental cleanings to help restore gum health.
If these options don’t work, your dentist might recommend a treatment such as pocket reduction surgery on your gums to save your tooth. Or they recommend a regeneration procedure to regrow damaged bone and gum tissue.
Gum contouring may be part of these procedures. Dental insurance might cover the cost or part if it’s not a medical necessity. You’ll need to speak to a dentist near you to find out what’s covered.
What Does Gum Contouring Involve?
Gum contouring is a gum disease treatment normally done by a cosmetic dentist or a periodontist. It’s an in-office process that’s done in one visit. In most cases, one remains awake during the procedure. Before your dental professional starts, you’ll receive local anesthesia to help numb the gum area.
During the procedure, your dentist uses a scalpel or a soft tissue laser to eliminate excess gum tissue and expose more teeth by resculpting the gumline. Sutures might be used to hold the gum tissue in place.
If your gums recede, the process will involve adding gum tissue. First, your dentist removes tissue from another part of the mouth, like the palate. Then, surgery secures the tissue around your teeth to help lengthen and restructure your gumline.
The length of the process varies depending on the extent of the gum contouring and the amount of resculpting required. Usually, gum contouring takes about one to two hours.
Does Gum Contouring Hurt?
During gum shaping near you, you’ll be provided with local anesthesia before the process starts. This numbs your gums so you won’t feel pain while the dentist works on the mouth. But you’ll expect some numbness and tenderness afterward.
The discomfort will depend on how much of your gums has to be removed or reshaped. After the procedure, your dentist will prescribe a pain reliever, or you can take over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen. However, since aspirin may cause bleeding, your dentist may discourage this medication.
You can also minimize swelling by applying a cold press or an ice pack to your mouth for a few days after the process. After that, it’s best to use the compress for 15-20 minutes.
How Long is Recovery?
Gum contouring takes about two hours, but complete healing might take days or weeks, depending on the extent of the treatment. You will have to limit some activities for two days based on how you feel and any tenderness you may have.
Since the mouth and gums are likely to feel tender or sensitive at first, you’ll have to eat soft foods for 2-3 days after the surgery. These foods include yogurt, soup, and applesauce.
Your dentist will give you post-surgery dietary instructions.
You’ll have a follow-up appointment a few days or weeks after the surgery. Your dentist will check your gums to evaluate how you’re healing and looks for signs of an infection. The dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic mouth rinse to reduce the disease risk.