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Gumlift/Gum Contouring

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 procedure commonly known as a gum lift. 

What is A Gum Lift /Gum Contouring?

A gum lift, which includes the procedures of gum contouring, crown lengthening, or gingivectomy, is designed to enhance the appearance of your smile by reshaping and adjusting the gum line. It's a great option for people who feel their smile is affected by too much gum tissue or an uneven gum line, which can make teeth look misaligned or irregular.

During a gum lift, a skilled dental professional uses advanced laser technology or traditional surgical instruments to carefully trim and sculpt the gum tissue. This not only improves the look of your teeth but can also boost your confidence and help with oral hygiene. By creating a more attractive smile, a gum lift can positively impact your self-image and overall dental health.

How A Gum Lift Enhances Your Smile

A gum lift, or gum contouring, is a transformative procedure that can greatly enhance your smile. By reshaping and adjusting the level of your gum line, this treatment makes your teeth look fuller, whiter, and more polished, contributing to a more mature and aesthetically pleasing appearance.


A beautiful smile is about more than just the teeth; the symmetry and level of your gum line play a crucial role. A balanced, symmetrical gum line that harmonizes with your teeth reveals the natural beauty of your smile. With proper length-to-width ratios, your teeth will appear longer, giving your entire smile a whiter, fuller look.

Gum contouring also addresses asymmetry in the gum tissue, which occurs when one or two teeth have a lower gum line compared to the rest. This unevenness can be visually distracting and detract from the overall aesthetics of your smile. Evening out the gum lines of these teeth creates a harmonious balance, improving the ratio of gum to tooth and enhancing the overall appeal of your smile.

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Laser vs. Non-Laser Gum Contouring

When considering gum contouring, the two main techniques used by dental professionals are laser gum contouring and traditional non-laser (surgical) gum contouring. Each method has its unique benefits and is suited to different patient needs, anatomy, and doctor preferences.

Laser Gum Contouring

Laser gum contouring has transformed cosmetic dentistry. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved diode lasers for dental use over 25 years ago, confirming their safety and effectiveness through extensive research. This technique works because the laser wavelength is specifically set to target gum tissue without affecting the teeth or surrounding areas. This precision makes the procedure minimally invasive, reducing the risk of infection and speeding up healing.

Lasers are primarily used in gingivectomy gum lift procedures to reshape and contour the gum line when only the visible gum tissue needs adjustment. This method enhances the appearance of your smile with less discomfort and quicker recovery.

  At our practice, we use the following lasers:

  • Biolase Ezlase™
  • Ultradent Gemini Laser
  • Light Instruments Lite Touch Laser

Non-Laser Gum Contouring

Traditional non-laser gum contouring uses surgical instruments like scalpels to reshape and adjust the gum line. This method is usually recommended for more extensive reshaping, where larger amounts of gum tissue and sometimes underlying bone need to be removed. While it may involve a slightly longer recovery time and a bit more discomfort compared to laser procedures, it is still not extremely invasive. The surgical site is small, so you can expect only mild post-operative discomfort and a reasonable healing time.

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Ideal Candidates for Gum Contouring

A good candidate for gum contouring must have healthy teeth, gum tissue, and underlying bone. A gum lift is contraindicated if there is dental decay or periodontal disease actively present. Ideal candidates for gum contouring include patients who are unhappy with the following:

Teeth that look like they are too short.

Uneven gum line.

Excessive gum tissue surrounding your teeth.

When you smile, excessive gum tissue shows.

Is a Gum Lift Painful?

A gum lift is a cosmetic dental procedure that involves reshaping the gum line, and it is designed to be as comfortable as possible. Whether done with a laser or traditional surgical methods, the procedure requires anesthesia to ensure you don't feel pain.

First, a topical anesthetic is applied to numb the area. Once it takes effect, a local anesthetic is administered. Modern techniques, such as "The Wand," deliver the anesthetic slowly and at low pressure, making the injection pain-free. You can also choose to have sedation before or during the procedure to enhance your comfort.

The procedure itself is quick and efficient because the gum tissue is very thin, resulting in a small wound. This minimizes post-operative discomfort. Most patients find that over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil are enough to manage any discomfort for the first day or two after the procedure.

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How Long Is A Gum Lift Procedure?

Gum lifts, whether performed by laser or traditional surgical methods, are relatively quick procedures that can significantly enhance the aesthetics of your smile. Understanding the duration of the procedure and the subsequent healing process is important for anyone considering this cosmetic treatment.

Duration of the Procedure

Gum contouring is typically an efficient process, usually taking about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours to complete. This duration includes the time taken to administer a local anesthetic which numbs the treatment area, to ensure the procedure is as comfortable as possible for the patient. 

Healing Process

The healing process for a gum lift varies depending on the amount and depth of tissue removed and contoured. Most patients find that they can return to normal activities the next day, with some minor discomfort and swelling for a few days after the procedure. It is crucial to follow post-procedure care guidelines provided by your dentist.

Guidelines After a Gum Lift

With both the laser and the surgical approach to gum lift, it is critical to follow specific care guidelines to ensure optimal healing and prevent infection. To ensure proper recovery, patients should rest and avoid strenuous activities for the first 24 to 48 hours, consume soft, non-spicy, and cool foods, and maintain good, but gentle, oral hygiene using a soft-bristled toothbrush and antimicrobial mouthwash. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to manage discomfort, and any prescribed antibiotics should be taken as directed. Follow-up visits with your dentist are essential to monitor healing and address any concerns.

Our Gum Lift Patients' Stories

At NYC Smile Design, we believe that the true testament to the success and impact of our gum lift procedures can be found in the stories of our patients. These personal accounts not only reflect the high-quality care we provide but also demonstrate the profound effect a balanced, aesthetically pleasing smile can have on one's self-esteem and quality of life.

Your Gum Lift Journey

A gum lift, or gum contouring, is a transformative procedure that can significantly enhance the symmetry and attractiveness of your smile. By carefully reshaping and adjusting the level of the gum line, either through advanced laser technology or traditional surgical methods, this procedure can correct an overly gummy smile or uneven gum lines that detract from the aesthetics of your teeth. The process is generally quick, with a manageable recovery period, provided you follow the recommended post-procedure care.

Choosing the right method—laser vs. non-laser—depends largely on your specific dental needs, the aesthetics desired, and the extent of correction required. At NYC Smile Design, Dr. Elisa Mello and Dr. Ramin Tabib are dedicated to ensuring that each patient receives personalized treatment plans that reflect their individual needs and expectations. We understand the importance of a beautiful smile and are committed to using our expertise to help you achieve the best results possible. If you are considering a gum lift, we invite you to schedule a consultation to explore how this procedure can benefit you and enhance your smile, ultimately boosting your confidence and oral health.

Common Questions:

What is the recovery process like after a Gum Lift procedure?

How long before I can eat normally after having a gum lift?

How to care for your gums immediately after recontouring

What is the proper method for caring for my gums after they recover?

How long will my results from my gum lift last? Will the gum tissue grow back?

How to prevent your gums from receding in the future


Expand Your Knowledge

The NYC Smile Design Learning Center page is your go-to resource for comprehensive and insightful information on cosmetic dentistry, offering expert guidance from Dr. Elisa Mello and Dr. Ramin Tabib to help you understand the wide array of dental treatments available, ensuring you make informed decisions for your smile makeover journey.


Send us a message or give us a call

(212) 452-3344