Reshaping Gum Tissues Can Greatly Improve Smile’s Appearance

Posted on Jun 07, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontist, I have advanced training and skills in the placement of Dental Implants and treating all stages of periodontal (gum) disease. Another realm of the periodontal specialty is in the recontouring of gum tissues, referred to as Periodontal Plastic Surgery.

While the shape, shade and length of teeth have a major impact on the appearance of a smile, so does the gum tissues that frame each tooth. The uniformity of gum tissues creates an appealing balance of gums to teeth. Thus, the appearance of your smile is greatly affected by the appearance of teeth and their ‘frames’ of gum tissue.

Periodontal Plastic Surgery can greatly enhance the appearance of a smile!

There are several ways that gum reshaping can have a dramatic impact on a smile’s appearance. Gum reshaping is recommended when certain teeth are bordered by more gum tissue than that which borders surrounding teeth. The procedure to correct this is crown lengthening, which is usually done in conjunction with crown placement.

Crown lengthening provides an appealing, balanced smile line that ‘frames’ each tooth with an arch similar to that over adjoining teeth. The procedure requires just one visit and healing time is generally minimal.

However, crown lengthening may also be performed to save a tooth from removal. For example, when a tooth has broken close to the gum line, crown lengthening procedures can remove gum tissue to expose more of the tooth. Because a tooth that breaks at the gum line must be removed, this procedure can make sufficient tooth structure available to support a crown.

Crown lengthening is also beneficial in sealing gum tissues surrounding a tooth at its base. This is important after a new crown is placed as it prevents bacteria from penetrating the gums during the vulnerable stage of attaching. By securing the gum tissue around the crown, bacterial entry is avoided and the risk for periodontal (gum) disease decreased.

Another way that Periodontal Plastic Surgery can enhance both the health and appearance of a smile is grafting to repair gum recession. This is when the gum tissue pulls away from the base of the tooth, exposing darker, more sensitive tooth root sections. Causes of receded gums are often due to age, bite misalignment, gum disease and over-zealous brushing.

Also referred to as Gingival Grafting, this procedure typically involves taking a small area of tissue from the roof of your mouth (which heals quickly) and placing it over the area of recession. It is secured in place for a healing period of approximately two weeks. The results restore the look of a healthy, naturally-framed tooth.

For those who are born with a ‘gummy smile,’ gum reshaping can restore the balance of gums to teeth for a more appealing smile. In a gummy smile, too much gum tissue is exposed above the teeth most visible in a smile. This is a genetic trait and doesn’t affect one’s oral health. However, many who have this particular smile trait feel self-conscious when they smile and tend to hold back from smiling fully.

The procedure to correct a gummy smile is a gingivectomy and can be done in one visit. Excess gum tissue is removed and the remaining gums are shaped to arch over each tooth for a natural appearance. In most cases, porcelain crowns or veneers are placed to accentuate the natural look and feel of the teeth involved.

A Periodontal Specialist provides you with advanced skills for these procedures. He or she also understands the delicate touch needed for minimal disruption to the gums involved in treatment. This tender tissue requires precision care to provide exceptional results with minimal healing time needed.

If Periodontal Plastic Surgery could improve the appearance and health of your smile, call 828-274-9440 to schedule a consultation appointment. During this time, we can discuss the options that would work best for your needs.

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