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Can a Smile Makeover Improve the Shape of My Gums?
A smile makeover involves a variety of dental procedures that improve the appearance of a patient's smile. Smile makeovers may serve an aesthetic purpose, a functional purpose, or both. When patients consider makeover treatments, they should factor in their facial appearance, hair color, teeth shape, width, length, gum tissue, and lips. For patients who do not like the shape of their gums, gum contouring or shaping can dramatically alter the appearance of a patient's smile.
What is gum contouring?
Gum contouring can serve as a solution for those with gums that rest too high or low on the teeth. Patients who have gums that cover a large portion of their teeth may have what is referred to as a "gummy" smile. Gummy smiles occur due to genetics or health problems. Other patients choose gum reshaping when they have long teeth due to gum recession. Long teeth do not only affect the smile but can also be at a higher risk of tooth decay.
How dentists perform gum contouring
Dentists perform gum contouring with lasers or scalpels to cut away, shape, or graft the gum tissue. Before the procedure, they may mark a patient's gums to highlight the new gum line. Next, they typically use a local anesthetic to numb the area before the reshaping. A laser can reshape the gum line and seal the tissue to prevent bleeding. Additionally, dentists can use lasers to get rid of hollows to avoid future infection. Dentists remove excess tissue to even out the gums.
To fix a receded gum line, dentists can remove gum tissue from another area of the patient's mouth. Often, they take this tissue from the palate. Next, the dentist secures the gum tissue to the new location to restructure the gum line.
How patients should care for gums following the procedure
Following this smile makeover procedure, patients likely experience gum sensitivity. They should avoid sharp and abrasive foods. Following a gum contour, most choose to eat soups, puddings, ice cream, or other soft foods. Most dentists provide dietary instructions following the procedure.
Until the gums heal entirely, patients need to take extra care when brushing and flossing. While they should continue to brush and floss every day, they can use a gentle hand to avoid gum irritation. Causing the gums to bleed can lead to an infection. Individuals can use gentle mouth cleansers but should avoid mouthwashes with alcohol that may burn sensitive gums. Some dentists may prescribe an antibiotic rinse to fight against any potential infections. After the appointment, most dentists require a follow-up appointment to check on healing and to prevent infection.
A smile makeover includes any procedure that improves the appearance of a person's smile. For those with an overly "gummy" smile or a receding gum line, contouring can reshape the gums. Patients may choose the procedure for cosmetic reasons or to prevent further dental problems.
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