What is gum contouring?
Gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure that can change the shape of your gums. A dentist can use this procedure to cut away excessive gum tissue that is giving you a "gummy" smile or to restore gum tissue that has receded and is now exposing too much of your teeth.
How do I know if I need gum contouring?
Typically, this is a highly personal decision that is made based on how you feel about your gums. If your gums are uneven, or they cover too much or too little of your teeth, then you may be a good candidate for gum contouring or gum reshaping. To find out, call 805-259-1149 and schedule an appointment with our dental office.
Is there pain associated with the procedure?
There can be, but you will be medicated during the procedure, which will reduce the likelihood of you feeling any pain. The amount of pain really depends on how much gum tissue is being cut away, shaped, or grafted. Additionally, the type of dental tools in the procedure will impact what your gums feel like afterward. Currently, dentists are using both scalpels and lasers to complete gum procedures.
What is the recovery time like?
This also heavily depends on the type of tools used to complete the procedure. When a scalpel is used for gum contouring, sutures will be necessary and there will be more overall irritation. Very often, lasers can treat the gums without cutting or sutures, decreasing the recovery time. Regardless, you will experience some swelling and discomfort afterward. You can manage it by applying ice packs to your face for 15 minutes at a time and using ibuprofen.
Are there any restrictions during recovery?
Yes. You will need to be careful with what you eat. Since your gums will be sensitive, you should avoid eating anything that is sharp or that could cut, poke, or irritate them in any way. For this reason, most people stick with a soft diet of yogurt, soup, ice cream or pudding for a couple of days. If your gum reshaping was performed using a scalpel, it is likely that you will be scheduled for a follow-up visit. At that point, your dentist will examine the gums to determine if everything is healing properly, and if it is, they will let you know when you can return to all your normal dietary habits. Additionally, you may be prescribed an antibiotic rinse to use in order to combat a potential infection, and when you do brush your teeth, you will need to do so very gently.
Is gum shaping different from gum contouring?
These terms are used interchangeably by dentists who perform them. Some may use contouring to describe the procedure with the use of a scalpel and reshaping when lasers are used. At the end of the day, the approach and objective are very similar. It is the tools that are different. The key is that if you want your gums to look different, it doesn't really matter which term is used, both contouring and reshaping can be an excellent solution.
Is this purely a cosmetic procedure, or is there a medical reasons for contouring and shaping?
That depends on why you want to schedule a gum reshaping. If you are calling our office because you suffer from gum disease, we will first examine you to determine if you have the condition, discuss your treatment options, and work to eliminate the actual disease. At that point, you may very well need a gum contouring procedure in order to restore gums that have receded and are now putting the health of your teeth, roots, and jawbone at risk. In a very real sense, gum contouring and grafting can help save your teeth.
While typically gum recession is caused by gum disease, you could also experience this due to excessive tooth brushing, taking a prescription drug, or even genetics. In this case, as with gum disease, restoring your gum tissue may become necessary for your optimum oral health.