Most people know that dentists can improve the appearance of their teeth, but not everyone knows that there is a lot more to cosmetic dentistry than just tooth whitening. Dentists can also perform cosmetic procedures on your gums. If you aren't happy with the way your gums look, one of these three procedures might be right for you.
Gum contouring is a simple surgery that involves removing excess gum tissue. Gum contouring can be used to fix an uneven gum line, or the appearance that some of your teeth are longer or shorter than others. It can also be used to fix a gummy smile, a smile that exposes too much gum tissue in relation to the teeth.
Before the procedure starts, your dentist will inject a local anesthetic into your gum tissue. This anesthetic will numb the area that will be operated on, but you'll still be awake and alert. Once you're numb, the dentist will trim your excess gum tissue with a scalpel or a laser. If the procedure is done with a laser, you won't experience as much bleeding as you would with a scalpel, and you won't need any stitches.
While few people want a gummy smile, a smile that doesn't expose any gum tissue isn't ideal, either. If your smile is all teeth, either from genetics or from the aftermath of medical problems like gum disease or gum recession, your dentist may be able to fix the problem with gum grafting.
Your dentist will numb your gums with a local anesthetic. Next, small pieces of tissue from other areas of your mouth, like the roof of your mouth, will be removed. Alternately, donor tissue from animals or cadavers can be used. Once the tissue to be grafted is collected, your dentist will make small incisions in your existing gum tissue to create pockets. The tissue graft will be tucked into the pockets to hold it in place, and if necessary, the dentist may also stitch it in place. A dressing will be placed on top to allow you to eat and drink without dislodging your new gum tissue.
Gum depigmentation is designed for people who are happy with the shape and size of their gums, but not the color. Normal, healthy gum tissue should be pink, but not everyone's gums are uniformly pink. Some people have dark spots or patches on their gums. These spots can be caused by a buildup of melanin (skin pigment), just like freckles on your skin. Spots can also be caused by smoking, fillings, and even some medications. Whatever the cause, your dentist can get rid of these spots with gum depigmentation.
Your gum tissue will be numbed with a local anesthetic first. Next, your dentist will aim a dental laser at your freckle or dark spot. The heat from the laser removes the top layer of your gum tissue, and when new tissue grows in that area, it will usually come back pink, not brown. Sometimes, more than one session is required, depending on how big and how dark your area of pigmentation is.
Cosmetic dentists can do a lot more than just whiten your teeth, so if you're not happy with the look of your gums, you don't need to just learn to live with it. It's not common knowledge that these procedures are available, but dentists can do a lot to change the look of your gums. Problems like an uneven gum line, a gummy smile, or discoloration can all be fixed. If you're dealing with any of these problems, make an appointment with your dentist right away.
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