Reshaping Gums For Dramatic Improvements To Smile’s Appearance

Posted on Nov 07, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

When a Periodontist is mentioned, many people think the treatment we provide is dental implant placement and treating periodontal (gum) disease. However, another part of the periodontal specialty is reshaping gum tissues, known as periodontal plastic surgery.

In addition to the shape, shade and length of teeth, the gum tissue that surrounds teeth has a significant effect on the appearance of a smile. Think about a print you wish to hang on a wall. The matting and frame can have a tremendous role in how the print is displayed. Along the same lines, your teeth also rely on a balanced, properly-aligned amount of gum tissue, which is the frame around each tooth.

With unique expertise in the re-contouring of oral tissues, a periodontist offers several ways to improve a smile’s appearance.

Gum reshaping is often performed when certain teeth are bordered by more gum tissue than that bordering surrounding teeth. Crown lengthening is the procedure most commonly performed to correct this. This is usually done in conjunction with crown placement but may be possible in mild cases of excess gum tissue.

Crown lengthening creates an appealing, balanced smile line that frames each tooth with an arch that is balanced to that over adjoining teeth. This procedure typically requires only one visit with minimal healing time.

Another way that Periodontal Plastic Surgery can enhance the appearance of a smile is grafting to repair gum recession. Receded gums are the result of gum tissue that pulls away from the base of the tooth, exposing darker, more sensitive tooth root sections. Receded gums are often the result of age, bite misalignment, gum disease and too-rigorous tooth brushing.

Also referred to as Gingival Grafting, this procedure uses a small section of tissue from the roof of your mouth, which heals quickly. The section is placed over the receded area and allowed to heal (normally requiring only a week or two). The results restore the look of a healthy tooth with a natural gum arch.

Another example is repositioning gum tissues for those who are born with a Gummy Smile, or a gingivectomy. This creates a balance of gums to teeth for a more beautiful smile.

Katie Couric - a famous 'gummy smile.'

Katie Couric – a famous ‘gummy smile.’

In a gummy smile, too much gum tissue is exposed above the teeth most visible in a smile. This causes many people to ‘hold back’ from smiling fully. Some with this trait smile with their lips only or conceal their smile with a hand.

The procedure to correct a gummy smile can be done in one visit. Excess gum tissue is removed and the remaining gums are arched 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. The result is a fabulous smile that can be shared fully and joyfully!

The bonus of using a Periodontist to create an optimal outcome is the skill level needed to minimize disruption to the gums involved. Tender gum tissues heal faster and more predictably when the precision skills of a periodontal specialist incorporates their ability to tend gently and adeptly to each patient’s individual needs.

When it comes to your smile, your gum tissues are truly a significant part of its appearance. To improve the health and appearance of your smile, call 828-274-9440 for a consultation. During this time, I’ll gladly make recommendations and discuss specifics of each part of the process.

Recent Posts