Much attention is given to keeping teeth healthy, but did you know healthy gums are also important to good oral health? The gums are soft tissue covering the tooth roots and the bone to which the teeth are connected. Healthy gums and teeth are the foundation of a beautiful smile.
The smile line – teeth that show when you smile – gets its appearance from several factors:
- Lip shape and size
- Lip movement when smiling
- Teeth shape and size
- Facial muscle development
- Gum tissue development
Some individuals have gums that extend too far over the tops of the teeth. This can make the teeth appear small, creating a "gummy"smile. A gummy smile can still be healthy, but often causes self-consciousness.
Possible Causes of a Gummy Smile
- Excessive gum tissue in the upper jaw
- The upper lip rising higher than normal when you smile
- Unusual or abnormal growth of your upper jawbone that exposes more gum tissue
However, a gummy smile may also indicate a more serious underlying dental condition stemming from issues related to tooth eruption or jaw development. A misaligned bite may also contribute to a gummy smile, affecting your overall dental health.
How Laser Gum Recontouring Works
Laser gum recontouring can bring harmony to the smile by reducing the length of the gums, balancing gum tissue with the shape and size of the upper lip, and making the teeth look longer.
Previously, the correction of gum prominence required dental surgery using a scalpel. This caused bleeding, risk of infection, and discomfort. Today, thanks to advances in cosmetic dentistry, including the development of the soft tissue diode laser, a gummy smile can be corrected in a safe, painless procedure.
Dr. Ted Murray will examine your mouth, teeth and gums to determine the cause and extent of your gummy smile. He may take tooth and gum impressions and digital X-rays to assess the condition of your tooth roots and jawbone.
Dr. Murray begins recontouring by numbing the mouth with a local anesthetic. Drawing on his LVI training and years of skill and experience in cosmetic dentistry, he uses the diode laser to vaporize excess gum tissue, gently sculpting a more desirable gum line.
The laser will cauterize as it removes tissue, so little or no bleeding will occur. This means less chance for infection to take hold. In one brief dental visit, Dr. Murray can dramatically alter your gum line, reducing the appearance of a gummy smile and enhancing your self-esteem.
During recovery, you may experience swollen or sore gums for several days. Discomfort is usually minimal and should not interfere with your regular activities.
If a gummy smile is affecting your quality of life, please contact our laser gum recontouring team at Exceptional Dentistry by calling 563-556-2711 or completing our online form. Our dentists serve Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, Iowa, as well as Galena, Illinois.