Cosmetic Dentistry > Gum Reshaping and Grafts

Gum Reshaping and Grafts

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Gum Shaping (gingival contouring)          
Sometimes the teeth are quite small in relation to the gum tissue. This can create an unattractive "gummy" smile. An uneven gum line can also be distracting.

The gum line, and the bone just beneath the gum line, can be lowered to change the appearance of your smile. This can create a more even gum line or make the teeth appear longer. “Gingival (gum) contouring" is the process of re-contouring the gum only. "Crown lengthening" refers to re-shaping of both gum and supporting bone.

Gum Grafts
In some cases, there is too little gum to properly cover the teeth.  This often occurs as a result of periodontal disease, in which the area between the gum and teeth become infected.  The gum then recedes some from the teeth, causing the teeth to appear overly long, or the roots of the teeth to show.  Some recession will occur naturally with age. 

Gum recession can cause tooth sensitivity to temperature and to certain foods.  It may also expose structurally important tooth roots to decay.  Beyond esthetic reasons, severe gum recession requires a visit to a dental professional.

After treating any infection, a gum graft can recover overly exposed teeth.  The term “connective tissue graft” is often used to describe gum grafts that are needed to help support the teeth.  This is usually the case when the gum has receded to expose the root of the tooth, making the tooth less stably anchored to the jawbone below.

These procedures can greatly help to restore a healthy and youthful appearance. 


Gum Reshaping (gingival re-contouring)
The dentist administers a local anesthetic and gently re-contours excess gum, often using a laser. 

The bone tissue under the tooth also must commonly be reduced following the gum reduction.  If not reduced, the bone tissue can stimulate the gum to grow back over the teeth. 

Gum Grafts
First, the muscle tissue just beside the receding gum tissue will often be gently repositioned.  This prevents additional pull on the gums. 

Your dentist then removes a small amount of soft tissue from the roof of your mouth (normally just behind your molars), or acquires tissue from a donor. The soft tissue is then placed in the new site and secured using either an adhesive substance or stitches.

Grafting procedures have very high success rates and heal remarkably quickly.

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