Gum Contouring

Mesa Dental
Dr. Walter Dukes

Your gums can recede unevenly due to periodontal disease, or gum disease, including gingivitis (early gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced periodontal disease). This can create an unsightly smile and give some teeth the appearance of being either too long or too short. That’s where gum contouring comes in. Dr. Dukes and his dental team can perform gum contouring surgery to even out the appearance of your gums and teeth.

Gum disease may be treated, with minimal or no gum line recession or even pain, through a LANAP Laser Procedure. While traditional periodontal surgery may cause increased sensitivity, LANAP generally does not. LANAP is also the only laser-based treatment for gum disease, and true tissue regeneration approved by the FDA. In fact, the PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser provides treatment for more severe cases of gum disease, in a less invasive manner, by:

  • Removing unhealthy and damaged gum tissue
  •  Targeting, and killing bacteria that cause gum disease
  • Regenerating soft tissue, as well as bone
  • Providing long-term results

Treatment with a LANAP laser not only improves oral health, it also provides healthier smiles. In addition to LANAP laser gum surgery being more convenient for patients, it also promotes better oral bone health overall. While stimulating the bone encourages bone regrowth, the LANAP laser enables doctors to save teeth that would otherwise be a loss. This often allows patients to avoid tooth extractions, as well as subsequent restoration procedures.

If your gums sit too low or too high against your teeth and you are unhappy with your gummy or overly toothy smile, you may be a candidate for gum contouring surgery, which is also known as gum reshaping or soft tissue sculpting. Some dentists use soft-tissue dental lasers to contour gums without the cutting and blood loss that accompanies traditional oral surgery.

Gum contouring is a cosmetic dental procedure that can correct uneven gum lines and give you a more attractive smile. This procedure is typically performed after you are given a local anesthetic, and it is virtually painless. After the gum contouring procedure, you will likely experience some pain, soreness or discomfort just as you would with any other oral surgical procedure.

Many general dentists and all periodontists (gum disease specialists) perform gum contouring procedures. Before you have this procedure, ask your dentist about his or her knowledge and experience with gum contouring. Dentists use scalpels, lasers and radiosurgery to perform gum contouring procedures. Gum contouring surgery can be performed right in the dentist’s office. Ask your dentist which technique would be the most suitable for your situation.

Before surgery, your dentist will review what he or she will be doing during your procedure. Your dentist will use a marker to draw your new gum line. That will help you see exactly how much gum will be removed or how your gum line will be reshaped by the procedure.

We typically apply a local anesthetic to numb the area first. Occasionally we must remove bone from the front of the tooth’s root during the gum contouring procedure in order to achieve the best long-term results.

Every surgery, including minor surgery, has risks. The risks related to gum contouring surgery include:

  • Allergic reactions to anesthesia (rare)
  • Relapse of gum tissue

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your teeth and gums, talk to your dentist about gum contouring surgery to determine if it is right for you. Just remember that the end result will depend on the skill of the dentist, as with any cosmetic dentistry procedure. Instead of going to the first dentist you find, do your research to make sure you are comfortable with the dentist you choose and his or her experience and capabilities. Ask the dentist what additional training he or she has had in cosmetic dentistry and more specifically, gum contouring. Also, ask to see before and after photos of the work he or she has done, and make sure you like the results you see.

We welcome patients from Santa Barbara and nearby cities and towns.

On the day of your surgery, it will be best for you to rest and limit activities. Complete healing of your gums may take a few days or weeks, since everyone heals differently. Your dentist will give you specific instructions about what you can do to speed your recovery. To help you get through your recovery period, here are some general help tips:

  • Ease your discomfort with an OTC pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil, as directed by your dentist. Avoid aspirin, which is a blood thinner that can cause excess bleeding.
  • Eat soft foods (e.g. cottage cheese, eggs, pasta, yogurt, soft vegetables, and ice cream) for a few days after surgery. Avoid hot, spicy foods and anything containing seeds (poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, etc.) until your gums are completely healed. Seeds are small enough to get stuck in healing gums, and you definitely want to avoid that.
  • Follow your dentist’s instructions about tooth brushing during the healing process. If you experience excessive pain, swelling or bleeding, or you have any concerns after your procedure, call your dentist.

In addition to gum contouring, the team at Mesa Dental also provides the following cosmetic dental treatment options: dental bonding, teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, smile makeovers and Invisalign.

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(805) 335-6780
Smiling man in eyeglasses during gum contouring consultation