submitted by Dr. Michael Spadafora, D.D.S., Bucks County Dental Design
With the holidays barreling towards us, many people find themselves looking for gift ideas. As always, your friendly dental office is happy to suggest a long lasting and life-changing gift of a new smile. This gift comes in many forms, including orthodontics, cosmetic veneers, full mouth bleaching, and crowns and bridges. There is, however, another less well-known procedure that can have a remarkable effect on a person’s smile.
Gingival sculpting (contouring) is the reshaping of the gum tissue around the patient’s teeth. This procedure, done in the dental office, removes excessive gum tissue around the teeth (the “gummy” smile) as well as sculpting uneven gum tissue.
While there are some dental health reasons to choose gingival contouring, this column addresses the cosmetic application of this procedure. Some patients arrive in the dental office questioning why their teeth seem small. This illusion of small and/or unusually shaped teeth is because the soft tissue around the teeth did not recede to normal levels, also called delayed passive eruption. Gingival contouring can lift the gum line for a more aesthetically pleasing smile.
This gum procedure is usually accomplished in one visit to the dental office, using local anesthesia. It is either done with a laser or with a scalpel and stitches, depending on the complexity of the case. In either situation post procedure problems, beyond minor discomfort, are rare. Your doctor may recommend a soft diet for a couple days as a precaution and to enhance healing.
When your dentist recommends gingival contouring as part of a larger treatment plan, it is usually completed before the restorative work commences. The gums are allowed to heal for a couple of months before impressions and further dental work are started. This gingival procedure improves the aesthetic aspect of the finished dental work, which will improve the patient’s looks and self-confidence.
This holiday season, while you are fretting about the perfect gift for someone special, consider cosmetic dentistry. The gift of a new smile is a gift for a lifetime – and it always fits!