Some people find their smile has just too much gum and not enough tooth. When gums are extended far down on the surfaces of the teeth, less tooth enamel shows, so the teeth seem short. There is not necessarily anything wrong with this, from a health standpoint, but from an aesthetic point of view, it is good to know that an improvement can be made.

Because the crown of the tooth ends up longer, this cosmetic procedure is often called “crown lengthening.” Some other terms are “gum lifting” and “gum sculpting.” All these phrases refer to the same thing.

What Causes Uneven Gums?

There are a variety of reasons why you may have a gummy smile. In some cases, it may be a symptom of a related medical issue. Certain prescription medicines can also cause your gums to be either too high or too low. Of course, it could just be genetics, too.

However, a significant cause of uneven gums is gum recession, or when the gums begin to move away from the tooth, exposing its root. Not only will this make your teeth seem unusually long, but it can also cause further dental issues and may be a symptom of periodontal disease. If your gums are receding, it’s essential to have them checked out by a periodontist to protect against any gum, bone, or teeth deterioration.

What to Expect During Your Gum Contouring Surgery

Gum contouring should be a reasonably quick and painless surgery. It’s typically performed in the dentist’s office with a topical anesthetic. Tribeca Dental Care’s procedure involves the use of a laser to remove the excess gum tissue. The surgery can also be performed with scalpels and radiosurgery, as necessary. However, we find that using a laser is both more painless and more precise.

Prior to the procedure beginning, you will receive a quick run-through of what will happen during the surgery. The dentist may use a pen to mark the new gum line and provide you with a quick preview as to how the gum line will look after the surgery.

In rare instances, the bone at the front of the tooth’s root must be removed. The removal is to help provide the best long-term results for our patients.

The Recovery Process

While the gum contouring procedure is a simple one, there can be a bit of a recovery process. On the day of the surgery, you should not engage in any strenuous activities, as it may take up to a week or two for your gums to fully heal. Each patient will receive a recovery plan that’s specific to them. However, generally, all patients should heed the same, essential advice:

  • When taking an over-the-counter pain reliever,
    avoid aspirin, which may cause bleeding.
  • Stay away from spicy or excessively hot foods,
    as well as anything with seeds.
  • For the first couple of days, eat only soft
    foods, like cottage cheese, eggs, ice cream, pasta, and yogurt.
  • If your dentist gave you specific directions
    for brushing your teeth, make sure to follow them for the prescribed
    length of time.
  • Should there be bleeding or swelling, contact
    your dentist immediately.


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