Even if you have perfect teeth, having receding or overhanging gums can make you self-conscious about your smile. A gummy smile can be caused by the natural position of the jaw or overgrowth of gum tissue, and can be treated by laser gum contouring. Receding gums are the opposite problem and are commonly caused by gum disease and smoking as well as brushing your teeth too hard. You can prevent gum recession by maintaining good oral health but if you have already developed the condition you may need a gum graft.
Am I a Candidate? If your gums are too prominent or appear too big when you smile then you could be a suitable candidate for laser gum contouring. Conversely, those with receding gums – where a loss of gum tissue results in the roots of the teeth being exposed – may be suitable candidates for a gum graft.
The Procedure All surgical gum procedures will begin with a local anaesthetic being applied to the gums to numb them. For laser gum contouring, the dentist uses a powerful laser light to trim the gums and remove the excess tissue. This allows the dentist to reshape the edges of the gums and expose more tooth, making your smile look less ‘gummy’.
During a gum graft, the dentist removes a small piece of gum tissue, usually from the roof of the mouth, and transplants it to the area where the gums are receding to cover the exposed root surface. The transplanted gum tissue will then heal around the root surface, improving the aesthetics of your smile and reducing the risk of further gum recession in the future.
Results Gum treatments allow the dentist to reshape the gums to either expose more or less of the tooth. This can be an effective solution for people who either have ‘gummy’ smiles, or those who suffer from receding gums. Only one treatment should be required for long-lasting results.
Risks and Complications Gum contouring is a relatively safe procedure; as the laser seals the blood vessels in the gums as it cuts, the gums tend to heal quickly after this procedure and you should get minimal bleeding and discomfort. A rare risk of gum contouring is the removal of too much tissue – if this happens you may need additional treatment to correct the problem.
Gum grafting is generally considered to be a safe treatment with highly predictable results in the right candidates. Your gums may be sore or swollen for up to a week afterwards but this should settle down within a week.
Costs Gum contouring costs from £150. A gum graft will usually cost around £400-£500.
Choosing a Dentist Not all dentists offer gum contouring or gum grafting procedures, so it is recommended to see a gum specialist (also known as periodontist) before embarking on treatment.