You may look at your smile and think, “My teeth are pretty but my smile is too gummy” or “My teeth do not look long enough.” The solution to this problem may be a gum lift. Gum lift, also known as gum-line contouring, is a cosmetic dentistry treatment in which your gum volume is reshaped.
Can the laser energy damage my teeth?
The FDA first approved diode lasers for dental use over 25 years ago. They were studied extensively prior to that approval. The key is the difference in density between the gum tissue and the tooth. The laser wavelength is set to vaporize the gum tissue, while leaving the tooth behind it unaffected.
Ideal candidates for gum recontouring
If your gums are overly visible, a “gummy smile,” you’re a good candidate for gum recontouring with Dr. Mello and Dr. Tabib. These are typically done as cosmetic treatments to remove excess gum tissue and show more of the tooth surface. This makes the teeth look longer. That’s why gum recontouring is often also known as crown lengthening; it makes the crowns (the visible portion above the gum line) of your teeth look longer.
At NYC Smile Design, we use two soft tissue diode lasers for our gum recontouring. The laser energy gently cuts away excess gum tissue, creating a more uniform, natural-looking scalloped gum line.
How Gum Recontouring Enhances Your Smile
Experienced cosmetic dentists Dr. Ramin Tabib and Dr. Elisa Mello use laser dentistry technology to reshape gum tissue, with the ultimate purpose of giving you a great smile. Many of our gum lift patients seek out cosmetic dentistry because they are unhappy with the following:
- Teeth that look like they are too short
- Bulging or excessive gum tissue surrounding your teeth
- Uneven gum line
- When you smile, excessive gum tissue shows
When looking at what is considered to be a beautiful smile, it’s not only nice teeth that you see; you also see a symmetrical gum line with an aesthetically pleasing ratio of gum-to-tooth. If your teeth remain partially covered by your gum tissue, we can remove enough of this excess gum to showcase your teeth, and create the right proportion for your smile.
Asymmetry of gum tissue is another common problem, when there are one or two teeth that have a lower gum line than the rest of the teeth in your smile. This is distracting and takes away from the beauty of your smile. Evening off the gum lines of these teeth will make the whole smile look better, bringing the ratio of gum-to-tooth closer to ideal.
What are the benefits of Laser Gum Recontouring compared to traditonal methods?
Historically, gum procedures have been performed using a scalpel and surgical instruments to make incisions and manipulate or trim tissue. When a scalpel is used, gauze must also be used to clear away blood from the treatment area. At the end of the procedure, stitches would be used to close the incisions. This technique was and is effective. However, lasers have refined the process.
In laser gum contouring, laser energy takes the place of the scalpel. No other surgical tools are needed, nor is gauze. The laser both obliterates the tissue that is covering the tooth and cauterizes the blood vessels in the area to keep bleeding to a minimum. Since cauterization occurs alongside “cutting,” the surgical site remains much more sanitary than it would if blood needed to be wiped away frequently. As a result of instant cauterization, there is minimal risk of infection during laser gum contouring. With less tissue trauma and bleeding, laser gum contouring requires less downtime and pain management during recovery. Post-treatment soreness and tenderness typically resolve within a few days. Over-the-counter medication is sufficient for pain-management.
Is a gum Lift painful?
The use of laser technology makes the gum lift procedure much more comfortable and streamlined. The doctor administers injections of numbing medication to the treatment area prior to beginning. Additionally, patients may elect to have sedation before or during their procedure, as well. Sedation in addition to local anesthesia enhances the comfort of various treatments, including laser gum contouring.
How long the procedure takes
Laser gum contouring can take 1 to 2 hours after the local anesthetic has numbed the treatment area.
What are the risks of using Laser Dentist of using Laser Dentistry for Gum Lift procedure?
Soft tissue lasers are remarkably safe and effective when used properly. The risks of bleeding and infection are reduced because the thermal energy of laser light cauterizes blood vessels as the device makes “cuts” in the gums. That said, patients must follow post-treatment instructions carefully so as to reduce the risk of infection during their brief recovery period.
What to expect during your consultation
When you visit the office for a Gum Lift consultation, expect to fill out a few necessary forms. The dentist needs to know a bit of your medical history, lifestyle habits, and needs to know all medications and supplements you are currently taking. When you meet the dentist, you will discuss why you want to have a Gum Lift and how you would like your smile to look. The dentist will perform an examination. X-rays may also be taken to observe the structure of the teeth and jawbone. Information regarding the Gum Lift procedure is then discussed. If you have questions, this is the time to ask them.
The Minimally Invasive Laser Gum Lift Procedure
The gum lift procedure is a relatively simple process, and once completed, you’ll instantly see your results. The two main technologies our dentists use for a gum lift are:
- Waterlase® MD
These are laser technologies. Laser dentistry enables our dentists to perform procedures that are less invasive, less painful and more effective than ever before. Many of the gum lifts at NYC Smile Design are performed with the Waterlase® MD. This innovative technology combines laser energy and a spray of water to reshape gum tissue. The ezlase™ is a soft-tissue diode laser that our dentists may use for gum reshaping.
“Dr Tabib and Dr Melo are both warm, sensitive practitioners. My dental issues had caused me pain and shyness all my life, and with them and their warm staff, I always felt accepted and cared for. I felt no pain during my treatments which was important to me, as my treatments with past practitioners had been traumatic. My results are gorgeous and well worth the investment. My thanks to NYC Smile Design for their wonderful care and sensitivities! They are the best! 100 stars!!”
What is the recovery process like after a Gum Lift procedure?
The gums may be tender or sore for several days after laser gum contouring treatment. It is important to follow your post-procedure care instructions to avoid unnecessary complications like infection. You may be advised to do salt-water rinses a few times a day and to eat softer foods for a few days. Examples include pasta, cooked vegetables, eggs, soups, yogurt, and smoothies. If necessary, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen to improve comfort. It is beneficial to devote at least the remainder of your treatment day to rest and relaxation. Doing so helps the body heal more expeditiously.
How long before I can eat normally after having a gum lift?
This isn’t a long recovery. Dr. Mello and Dr. Tabib will describe the kind of foods you should eat, and this will usually only be for a few days. Obviously, you’ll avoid sharp or hard foods. You don’t want to have to chew much. No spicy foods.
How to care for your gums immediately after recontouring
The first couple of days after your treatment you’ll want to avoid brushing the gum line. You won’t open the closed incisions, but they will be sensitive. After they calm down, you can care for your gums as you normally would.
What is the proper method for caring for my gums after they recover?
What does that involve? Twice-daily brushing with a soft bristle toothbrush and ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day are all you’ll need to do. Electric toothbrushes have been approved by the ADA, and they now offer a great option for keeping your teeth and gums in top shape.
You’ll want to brush along your gum line at a 45-degree angle upward on the upper teeth and downward on the lower teeth. This angle helps to remove any food debris while at the same time lightly scrubbing the gums and teeth. It’s important to lightly brush your gums every time you brush your teeth, as this helps keep plaque off them and it stimulates the gum tissue. Flossing is also important to clean just under the gum line between the teeth and to also stimulate this gum tissue.
How long will my results from my gum lift last? Will the gum tissue grow back?
Our gum recontouring patients at NYC Smile Design wonder if they’ll have to have this procedure performed again at a future date, but that’s not a concern. Your new higher, scalloped gum line created by Dr. Mello or Dr. Tabib is permanent. The excess gum tissue we have removed will not regenerate, so you’ll enjoy your new smile for the rest of your life.
How to prevent your gums from receding in the future
This procedure isn’t about receding gums; it’s just the opposite. But patients often ask us how they can avoid receding gums moving forward. The key is taking care of your gums as we describe above, brushing with a soft toothbrush at a 45-degree upward angle on the upper teeth, downward angle on the lower teeth. You don’t want to brush too firmly, as this can make your gums recede. Flossing is also important to remove plaque under the gum line and stimulate the gum tissue.
As we age, our gums normally recede to a degree. This is inevitable. But most gum recession is caused by the gum irritation that occurs in the early stages of gum disease. As plaque and tartar build up under the gum line, this irritates the gum tissue, and it begins to pull away from the tooth surface as a reaction to the irritation. This will lead to gum recession.
Keep your gums and teeth healthy and clean, and your gums will maintain their proper position on your teeth.
Schedule a Client Consultation
If you live in or around Manhattan, New York City or the surrounding areas and are interested in a gum lift to recontour your gum line, please call NYC Smile Design at 212-452-3344 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced cosmetic dentists.