While most people visit their favourite dentist primarily for the well-being of their teeth, it should be noted that gums are equally crucial to oral health. If your gums are unhealthy, it can create even more significant issues than one or two teeth that might have cavities.
It is more than likely that most people consider their smiles. It is their teeth that they think about most. This is why a massive demand for cosmetic dentistry exists, which whitens, repairs, replaces and straightens teeth. However, given that every person’s gumline is different, dentists are increasingly demanding to carry out cosmetic work on gums, too.
Before we go further, it has to be made clear that the scope of cosmetic dentistry concerning teeth is much wider than for gums. For teeth, there is a multitude of cosmetic procedures that can be undertaken. These include relatively simple processes, such as whitening, to more complex ones, like ceramic crowns being fitted. You can even have tattoos attached to your teeth to get artistic.
For procedures related to gums that might improve your smile, the main one is gum contouring, also known in dental circles as gingivoplasty or gingival sculpting. What gum contouring effectively does is resculpt and reshape your gumline.
Gum contouring can be done for medical reasons whereby your dentist feels it is necessary to treat conditions such as periodontal disease. This is a severe infection of the gums that occurs due to the building of bacteria on the teeth and gums, and if left untreated, it can damage your teeth and jawbone.
Before opting for gum contouring, your dentist would generally try to treat a condition like periodontal disease with more traditional methods, such as antibiotics, accompanied by regular professional cleaning of your teeth and gums. Should these not work, surgery, including gum contouring, might be necessary to save teeth and to help regenerate your gums.
As for gum contouring being used for cosmetic reasons, your dentist should be able to do this, too. Often, patients will be unhappy that they have too much gum tissue. This can mean that when they smile, the gums seem more prominent than their teeth. Conversely, those with gums that might have receded feel that when they smile, they are showing too much of their teeth and not enough of their gums.
To carry out gum contouring, a dentist will use several instruments and tools, including a scalpel or soft tissue laser. If the issue is excess gum, then the dentist will use to remove the excess gum and resculpt the gum. If, on the other hand, the problem is a lack of gum tissue, the dentist will remove the skin from another part of your mouth, such as your palate, to build up and restructure the gum.
You can undergo gum contouring under local anaesthetic, so should feel no pain during the procedure. However, after the treatment, you will start to feel discomfort depending on how much surgery occurs on your gums. You will need to eat soft foods like soup or yogurt for a few days, but otherwise, you should feel back to normal within a week.
A follow-up appointment will be arranged so that the dentist can check that your gums are healing normally, and thereafter you can enjoy your new gumline and improved smile.