Reframing Your Smile - Gum Contouring | Mount Lawley Dental
Reframing Your Smile - Gum Contouring
Cosmetic Dentistry

Reframing Your Smile - Gum Contouring

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Dentists can remove excess gum tissue and reshape the gum line to improve the appearance of a gummy smile.

3 minute read

A smile is made up of many components, and cosmetic dentistry doesn't end at addressing issues with teeth. If you're not happy with the appearance of your gums or the proportions of your smile, your dentist may discuss gum contouring treatment.

Gum contouring may be recommended to improve a 'gummy' smile or combined with other cosmetic treatments as part of a wider smile makeover.

Your dentist will explain what's involved in the gum contouring procedure and what to expect so you can decide whether it's the right option for you. Got questions? Get in touch with our team.

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What is gum contouring?

Gum contouring (also known as gum reshaping, gingivoplasty or a 'gum lift') is a minimally-invasive cosmetic dentistry procedure. It involves the careful removal of gum tissue and reshaping the gum line around the teeth, usually on the upper gum.

Gum contouring procedures are performed by an experienced dentist and may involve the use of lasers or traditional instruments. As part of a smile makeover, a gum lift may be combined with other procedures, depending on what issue you want to address. These may include:

  • gum grafting
  • crowns or veneers
  • teeth straightening
  • whitening
  • composite bonding

Gum tissue that's been removed by a dentist won't generally grow back, making gum contouring a permanent treatment. However at times, patients can experience a relapse. During your consultation, we’ll discuss your suitability for gum contouring treatment and the risk of a relapse as it pertains to your individual circumstances.


Who can benefit from gum contouring?

uneven tooth proportions

Gum contouring is usually performed for cosmetic reasons. Your dentist may recommend it if:

  • your gumline is uneven or asymmetrical
  • you have excess gum tissue that extends over your teeth (a 'gummy smile')
  • Tooth proportions are uneven due to excess/asymmetrical gum tissue

If your gums cover more of your teeth than normal, this can show more of your gums when you smile and make your teeth look shorter, affecting the proportions of your smile. It may also make it harder to clean your teeth, making you more prone to oral health problems.

If you’re concerned about excess gum tissue, speak to our dentists in Mt Lawley today.

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What happens during the gum contouring procedure?

The gum contouring process can vary for each patient, depending on how much contouring is needed and how much excess gum tissue needs to be removed. The treatment is normally performed under local anaesthetic and can take between 1 and 2 hours.

Your dentist will remove the minimum tissue required to reshape your gumline, which may be done using a soft tissue laser or scalpel. Laser gum surgery can improve results and comfort for the patient, as well as reducing the healing time needed.

After contouring, your dentist will check that your new gumline is balanced and in proportion with your teeth when you smile. If you're also having gum grafting, this is a separate procedure that involves removing tissue from another part of your mouth (usually the palate) and bonding it with the gum.

Is gum contouring painful?

Like other dental treatments, gum reshaping is carried out under local anaesthesia, so you will be awake but won't feel pain in your gum during the procedure. If you have dental anxiety or a resistance to anaesthetic, your dentist can discuss sedation options to help you get through the treatment.

Your gums may feel slightly sore or tender after the anaesthetic wears off, depending on how much reshaping was involved. In simple cases, it won’t feel any different to having a small ulcer in the mouth. Your dentist may recommend warm salt rinses and over-the-counter pain medication to help numb your mouth if needed.


What to expect after gum contouring surgery

The results of gum contouring will be immediately noticeable, though it may take a few days or even weeks for your gums to fully heal, depending on how much surgery was involved. Your dentist may recommend avoiding physical exertion and only eating soft foods for the first several days.

Other treatments for a gummy smile

Gum contouring isn't the only option for improving a gummy smile. Depending on what's causing your gums to look prominent, other treatments may be provided by a dentist or other professional, which may be more or less invasive. These can include:

  • Orthodontic treatment using braces or clear aligners to correct an issue with the teeth or jaw that can affect the appearance of the gums
  • Dental crowns or veneers fitted over teeth to make short teeth longer or build up worn or damaged teeth
  • Crown-lengthening surgery involving the removal of gum tissue and bone to expose more of the teeth
  • Jaw surgery in cases where there is large jaw discrepancies causing excess gum tissue to be shown, these are usually combined treatments between specialist orthodontist and specialists maxillofacial surgeons


How much does gum contouring cost?

The cost of gum contouring will vary depending on the nature of your gum problem and what’s involved in the treatment. Your treatment plan will typically include other treatments combined within an overall smile makeover, however you’ll receive a a complete breakdown of costs for each treatment.

The cost of gum contouring treatment may be partially covered by your private health fund. Our dentists can also offer payment plans if you prefer to break down your treatment cost into more manageable instalments.

Book a consultation for gum contouring in Mount Lawley

If you're not happy with the appearance of your gums or your smile, book a cosmetic consultation with our experienced dentists at Mount Lawley Dental or call our friendly team on (08) 9227 8777 to find out more and discuss your options. We welcome patients from all surrounding suburbs including Highgate, Inglewood and North Perth.

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