Gum Contouring Procedure Explained
Gum contouring is a minor procedure compared to most other dental surgeries. Laser gum contouring can be performed in-office with a single visit. The procedure is performed by a cosmetic dentist, an oral surgeon, or a periodontist.
The biggest part of the gum contouring procedure would be consulting with a dentist and planning your treatment. You can express your interest in gum contouring surgery to the dentist. He or she will then examine your gums and teeth to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
Why you need to perform gum contouring would matter before undergoing the procedure. If you want gum contouring done for purely cosmetic reasons, your dentist would discuss your medical history with you. You will be checked for possible oral health issues, such as gingivitis or tooth decay. The dentist would perform a thorough examination of the gums to determine if it’s viable to remove gum tissue to fix your smile.
Your dentist would recommend gum contouring surgery as an option to treat periodontal disease. However, there would be other alternatives to consider, such as tissue stimulation or bone grafts.
In some cases, the dentist may recommend gum reshaping as a part of a total smile makeover. If you are getting veneers or crowns, the dentist may suggest gum sculpting to make the smile appear more even.
The initial consultation for a gum contouring surgery would vary depending on each individual case. Some patients undergo thorough medical consultations with their dentist before the procedure. But gum contouring can be done as part of a routine checkup or teeth cleaning. Because of the minimally invasive nature of laser gum contouring, the procedure can be completed with little to no risk.
The Contouring Procedure
The process of getting your gums reshaped would depend on whether you choose the laser or the traditional method. The laser method is used most commonly, though in rare cases the dentist may opt for a traditional gum contouring surgery.
Laser Gum Contouring
This process is quite simple as straightforward. Your dentist will prepare you for the process by applying a local anesthetic to the gums. This numbs your gums, but won’t put you “to sleep” like a general anaesthetic.
Then, the dentist would use a diode laser to trim the excess parts of the gums, sculpting to make it more aesthetically appealing. The laser procedure doesn’t cause excessive bleeding. The process only takes about half an hour to complete. Once done, the dentist would seal the contoured area. Stitches are not necessary.
Traditional Gum Contouring Surgery
This is performed by an oral surgeon. To start, you would be given a local anesthetic. In some cases, the dentist may recommend a general anesthetic, especially if you have a dental phobia.
The procedure would involve the dental surgeon making incisions on your gums to remove excess tissue. There will be a lot of bleeding and the dentist would put gauze in your mouth to control it. The dental surgeon would contour your gums by hand.
When done, the surgeon would stich the wounds. The total time will be around an hour, but time can vary depending on the dental surgeon’s skill level and style.
Recovery time and comfort level will depend on whether you chose the laser procedure or traditional surgery. Following laser gum sculpting, you will experience some minor discomfort. There could be some swelling of the gums and you may feel some pain. It’s possible that some bleeding occurs.
Most patients, however, recover quickly within a day from laser gum contouring. Your healing process can last up to a week or more. Your dentist would recommend a liquid diet or soft foods for several days afterwards. Total recovery time is a few days in most cases.
Recovering from traditional gum contouring takes longer. You will experience pain and discomfort following the procedure. There will be swelling in the gums, and the dentist may prescribe you antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection. You would have to wait a few days until the wounds are healed. The dentist may recommend a follow-up visit to remove the stitches. Recovery may last over a week.
In either case, most patients can manage pain with over-the-counter painkillers.