Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center P.A.
Dr. J. Terry Alford and Associates
"Creating Naturally Beautiful Smiles"

Gum Reshaping and Recontouring

Gingival Contouring and Crown Lengthening can significantly improve the look of your smile.   Most people don't realize that when you see a beautifiul  smile that it is a combination of Color (mostly white),  shape, position and symmetry of the teeth and the level normally appearing gingival tissue.  Cosmetic dentistry involves looking at all these considerations and making the correct change to effect the most beautiful smile from the given situation.  Everyone has seen a GUMMY smile.  These are the obvious smiles that we notice. The not so obvious are the ones that with a little contouring can make a smile go from OK to stunning.

Sometimes gingival contouring is accomplished for health reasons. Some patients on specific medications will need to have their gums recontoured due to overgrowth of the tissue. This overgrowth creates pockets that are very difficult to keep clean. However the tissue can be keep at normal levels with simple laser dentistry that is painless and also makes the smile more pleasing.  

Crown lengthening is generally performed in order to improve the health of the gum tissue, or to prepare the mouth for restorative or cosmetic procedures.  As stated above , crown lengthening procedures can also be used to correct a “gummy” smile, where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue.  Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or recontouring bone and gum tissue.  This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line, to expose a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing smile.

Reasons for crown lengthening

Crown lengthening is a versatile and common procedure that has many effective uses and benefits.  The vast majority of patients who have undergone this type of surgery are highly delighted with the results.

Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:

  • Restoration of damaged teeth – Periodontal disease can cause severe damage to the teeth, as can trauma and decay.  Where teeth have been broken beneath the gum line, crown lengthening can be used to prepare the area for a new restoration to correct the damaged teeth.

  • Cosmetic uses – Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections.  Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and thus improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.

  • Dental crowns – Crown lengthening serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown.  This prevents the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once it is in place.

What does crown lengthening involve?

Crown lengthening is normally performed under local anesthetic.  The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend in how many teeth are involved and whether a small amount of bone needs to be removed, in addition to the soft tissue.  Any existing dental crowns will be removed prior to the procedure, and replaced immediately afterwards.

The dentist will make a series of small incisions around the soft tissue in order to separate the gums away from the teeth.  Even if only one tooth requires the re-contour, neighboring teeth are usually treated to provide a more even reshaping.  Separating the gums provides the dentist with access to the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone.

In some cases, the removal of a small amount of tissue will provide enough tooth exposure to place a crown.  In other cases, the dentist will also need to remove a small amount of bone from around the teeth.  The bone is usually removed using a combination of special hand instruments, and rotary instruments.  The rotary instruments roughly resemble the drill that is used in cavity treatment.

When the dentist is satisfied the teeth have sufficient exposure, the gum area will be cleaned with sterile water and the  tissue will be sutured with small stitches.  The teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned.

The dentist will secure the surgical site using an intraoral (periodontal) bandage, which serves to prevent infection.  Prescriptions may be provided for pain medication, and a chlorhexidine (antimicrobial) mouth rinse may be given to help reduce any bacteria attempting to re-colonize.  The surgical site will be completely healed in approximately two to three months. The healing occurs much faster if the tissue can be corrected with laser therapy rather than traditional techniques. Here at the Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center we utilize two methods or gingival contouring. Both methods are painless  and heal very quickly. The Diode soft tissue laser is used when we want to prevent regrowth of the tissue and the Electrosurgical technique is used when meticulious detail is needed. Electrosurgery allow the tissue to regrow when performed minimally and using maximum magnification. Utilizing the most modern state of the art technology allows us to provide the best possible choices for each patients treatment. 

 Not all procedures are complicated and some are so simple that you won't believe how they can improve your smile. If you are interested in a Free Cosmetic Consultation give us a call for an APPOINTMENT