Everyone’s gum line is different. Some are high, some are low, some are in between. Some may even be irregular.
If you don’t feel comfortable with your gum line, there are ways to change it. Gum contouring, also known as gum aesthetics, is one of the options that can help reshape your gum line.
In some cases, your dentist may recommend this, especially if you have problems with your gums that affect your oral health. However, what exactly does this procedure involve?
This article will shed light on what gingival reshaping is, how and when it is done, and how healing occurs.
What is gingival contouring?
Gum contouring is a procedure that reshapes your gum line and is performed by a dental professional.
The gum shaping process involves cutting or removing excess gum tissue around your teeth. If you have gum recession, the procedure involves restoring the gum tissue.
In most cases, gingival reshaping is an elective procedure. This means that it is not medically necessary. Instead it is done to improve the appearance of gums, teeth or smile.
However, there may be times when your dentist recommends gum shaping for oral health reasons.
When is it medically necessary?
Most of the time, gum shaping is done for cosmetic purposes. But there are times when this may be a medical necessity.
If you have periodontal disease, gum reshaping may be a treatment option. However, your dentist will first try to treat gum disease with non-surgical options. This may include antibiotics to kill bacteria and infection, or dental cleaning to improve gum health.
If these efforts don’t work, your dentist may recommend treatment to save the tooth, such as pocket reduction surgery on the gums and surrounding bone. Or you may need a regeneration procedure to regrow damaged bone and gum tissue.
What does gum shaping involve?
Gum shaping is usually done by a periodontist or cosmetic dentist. It is an in-office procedure, usually done in one visit.
In most cases, you will remain awake during the procedure. Before starting, the doctor will apply a local anesthetic to numb the gum area.
During the procedure, 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. Stitches can be used to hold the gum tissue in place.
If your gums are receding and the procedure involves adding gum tissue, your doctor will remove tissue from another part of your mouth, perhaps your palate. Surgery secures this tissue around your teeth to lengthen and reconstruct your gum line.
The length of the procedure will vary depending on the extent of styling and the amount of remodeling needed. Gum shaping usually takes about 1 to 2 hours.
Does gum contouring hurt?
You will be given local anesthesia before the procedure begins. This will numb your gums so you won’t feel pain while the doctor works on your mouth. However, you can expect some tenderness and lethargy afterwards.
The amount of discomfort depends on how much of your gums need to be reshaped or removed.
After surgery, your doctor may prescribe a pain reliever, or you can take over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Your doctor may not recommend this medicine because aspirin can cause bleeding.
You can also reduce pain and swelling by applying an ice pack or cold compress to your mouth for a few days after the procedure. It is best to apply the compress for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
How long does recovery take?
Gum shaping requires very little downtime, but full recovery can take days or weeks, depending on the extent of the surgery. Depending on how you feel and the sensitivity you may have, you may need to limit certain activities to a day or two.
You will want to eat soft foods for about 2 to 3 days after the procedure, as your gums and mouth will feel tender or sensitive at first. This may include foods such as:
Your doctor will provide dietary instructions after surgery and will also let you know if there are foods you should avoid during the recovery period.
You will usually have a follow-up appointment a few days or a week after the procedure. Your doctor will check your gums and look for signs of infection to monitor how you are healing.
They may prescribe an antibiotic mouthwash to reduce the risk of infection. Signs of infection include increasing pain and swelling and discharge from the gums.
Gum shaping, also known as aesthetic shaping, is a process that involves reshaping the gum line. It is often used to improve the appearance of gums, teeth or smile. For this reason, it is considered a cosmetic procedure when done.
However, there are instances where gum reshaping or reshaping is necessary for oral health reasons, especially if you have periodontal disease.
The procedure is typically an office procedure and takes about 1 to 2 hours. The cost can vary depending on how much the gum needs to be reshaped and whether it is covered by dental insurance.