Alongside techniques for improving the appearance of one’s teeth, gum surgery is sometimes recommended to correct cosmetic problems caused by the appearance of one’s gums. Periodontal disease, aging, or genetics may cause the gum tissue surrounding the teeth to recede, resulting in a “long tooth smile,” in which the teeth appear to be abnormally long. The opposite may also occur, in which there is so much gum tissue that the teeth appear to be too short, resulting in a “gummy smile.”
Both conditions can be corrected via gum surgery. A “long tooth smile,” in which gum tissue has receded, can be more serious than just causing an unattractive smile. As the gums recede, the roots of the teeth may become exposed, causing sensitivity to heat and cold and possible tooth loss due to more frequent decay. Cosmetic gum surgery treats this condition by removing soft tissue from other areas of the mouth and then grafting it to the gum line, where it is used to fill in areas that may have receded. A “gummy smile” is treated by using a dental laser to remove the excess soft tissue at the gum line and sculpt a more natural-looking smile.
The cost of cosmetic gum surgery varies depending on location, and on how much of your gum line needs to be repaired. Gum surgery is also often performed in conjunction with other cosmetic dental procedures, such as the placement of crowns, bridges, and veneers.
What can you expect if you have cosmetic gum surgery?
Gum surgery is usually performed in segments using local anesthetic; if the whole mouth and large areas of the gum line are being worked on at once, the dentist may recommend general anesthesia. Excessive gum tissue is usually removed using a dental laser, as is tissue from the upper mouth used for grafting. Although there is a healing period, results are usually immediate, and noticeable. Studies have indicated that cosmetic gum surgery to correct a “long tooth smile” may in fact improve your overall dental health, and you may notice a decreased sensitivity to hot and cold once the exposed tooth roots are now covered. Most dentists prescribe the use of an antibacterieal mouthwash for one or two weeks following the procedure, to prevent any kind of infection.