Straight, white teeth aren't the only part of a perfect smile. Your gums are just as visible, and if they cover too much of your teeth, your perfect teeth will be overshadowed by your gums. Dentists call this condition a gummy smile, and while it's not a medical problem, it's a fairly serious cosmetic problem. If you are suffering from a gummy smile, your dentist may be able to fix your gum line with a procedure called gingival sculpting.
How is gingival sculpting performed?
Gingival sculpting is a fairly simple procedure. First, your dentist will numb your gum tissue with a local anesthetic. Once your gums are numb, the procedure can start. The dentist will make small incisions in your gums to separate them from your teeth, and then a laser or scalpel will then be used to cut away areas of excess gum tissue.
Lasers cauterize tissue as they cut it, so if your dentist uses a laser for your procedure, you won't need any stitches. If your dentist uses a scalpel, you will need stitches. After the procedure is finished, your dentist will cover the surgical area with a periodontal dressing, a putty-like material that will protect your gums as they heal.
Is the procedure painful?
Gingival sculpting is not painful because your dentist will numb your gums before the procedure begins. You may feel some pressure on your gums as your dentist is working, but no pain. If you're very anxious about the procedure, ask your dentist about receiving sedative drugs. These drugs will help you relax during the procedure, but you'll still be awake and alert.
What is the recovery period like?
The recovery period from gum surgery can be painful. You may be able to manage the pain with over-the-counter painkillers, but if not, your dentist can give you a prescription for a stronger painkiller. You can expect swelling in the area, but it doesn't usually appear until 24-48 hours after the surgery. Your dentist may recommend icing the area immediately after the surgery to reduce swelling.
Eating can be difficult when you have sore gums, so your dentist may recommend sticking to a soft foods diet until your gums are healed. You may also be told to avoid hot foods and drinks since hot foods can cause discomfort.
Your periodontal dressing needs to stay in place while your gums heal, so you need to avoid things that could dislodge it. Your dentist may tell you to use prescription mouthwash to clean the area, instead of your toothbrush and floss. This dressing will be removed by your dentist 10-14 days after your surgery, and the dentist will clean the area underneath before sending you home.
Will you have scars?
It seems like common sense that a procedure like gingival sculpting would leave a lot of scar tissue, but the tissue inside your mouth is a lot different than your skin. While cutting into your skin would probably leave a scar, oral tissues are different: incisions in gum tissue heal without scars. This is because saliva has a beneficial affect on wound healing. Saliva contains epidermal growth factor, a substance that stimulates the growth and repair of cells.
Is the treatment permanent?
Gingival sculpting is a permanent procedure. Once your gum tissue has been removed, it won't grow back, so you need to be sure about this procedure. If you decide later that you miss your gummy smile, you won't be able to get it back without undergoing more surgery.
If you don't like your gummy smile, talk to your dentist about gingival sculpting. This simple procedure will permanently give you the gum line you want, without any scars. Go to this site for more information about other cosmetic procedures.