The State of the Gum

By: Patricia Woloch

Many people look at their teeth every day. They also check out the teeth of those around them, and those of people in movies and on TV. Looking for food caught between the teeth, or checking for stains, takes up a portion of each day. Our dentists tell us to brush after every meal, floss, and pay attention to any changes we notice between check-ups. What many people overlook, or don't really think about, are the gums. We take gums for granted, or maybe we relate them only to gum disease. However, gums play an important role in how our teeth and smiles look.

Your Gums and Your Smile
Some people can't stand their smile because of how their teeth look. Others don't like their smile because of their gums. They might have a "gummy smile" or an asymmetrical gum line. The gums "frame" the teeth and the smile, and too much gum line or unhealthy looking gums can disfigure your smile.
Gum recontouring, or gum sculpting, is one of the many procedures cosmetic dentists perform. If you have too much gum, this is a procedure that can dramatically improve your smile.

Gum Recontouring
It can be a relatively easy procedure. The first thing to do is make sure the gums are healthy. So taking care of inflamed or swollen gums is the first order of business. Gum symmetry is important to having a nice smile, so if an asymmetrical gum line is found a laser can take care of it. The laser's heat is absorbed by water in the gums, which breaks connections between the molecules and vaporizes the unwanted tissue.

A laser can also remove the excess gum to correct a "gummy smile" (called a gum lift). Both procedures take less than an hour and heal quickly.

When laser treatment is not enough, teeth or bone repositioning can be done as well. While recovery may take longer, the results are impressive.

Gum recontouring gives you a more natural smile and can be done alone. It is also performed in conjunction with other procedures. Adding porcelain veneers or crowns will improve your smile, as will porcelain bridges.

More people are going to cosmetic dentists every year to have procedures such as gum recontouring done. Besides correcting problems, these treatments help give people confidence by showing them that they, too, can have a nice smile.

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