Cosmetic Tissue Recontouring – Gingivectomy

It is not uncommon for us to suggest to a patient who has absolutely no signs of periodontal (gum) disease to seriously consider having elective periodontal procedures performed if this will get them to their goal. In these cases, the procedures are almost always needed to improve appearance. Sometimes they are suggested to promote future periodontal health or attend to a potential problem that might develop.

When you smile or talk, your teeth are framed by your lips and the visible gum tissue. People looking at you notice your teeth. People notice missing teeth, tooth alignment, gum color, discolored fillings, silver fillings, tooth color, and how much of your teeth actually show. If everything is integrated well and looks natural, people say you have a nice smile. If something does not look natural, it may be easy to define, such as crooked, stained, or yellow teeth; periodontal disease shown by red-colored gum tissue; or discolored fillings. Or it may be something not as readily to determine. It’s just that something does not look right.

That “something” may be related to the architecture of the teeth and gums. The position of the gums where they meet the teeth is esthetically important. If the teeth look too short, there may be more gum tissue covering them than is considered attractive. You may show too much gum tissue when you smile. There may be a difference in height of the gum of one tooth versus an adjacent tooth or its partner on the other side of the mouth. This could be caused by recession from brushing too hard; gum disease; poor or defective restorations, especially crowns; or just a problem with the way the tooth erupted into place. All of these things can detract from your appearance.

Several different periodontal procedures, simple to accomplish, can correct most of these routine problems. Some involve removal of unwanted tissue; some involve grafting of tissue. Orthodontics might be helpful in some cases. The more extensive procedures will require referral to specialists.

In one common type of cosmetic periodontal plastic surgery, the gum tissue is reshaped and recontoured without the use of sutures (stitches). This procedure is done in the office. One tooth or several teeth may benefit from treatment. Postoperative discomfort is usually minor. There may be tooth sensitivity when gum tissue is removed, but this usually disappears. The improvement generated by this type of procedure can be startling.

We will show you and describe in detail how you can benefit from cosmetic periodontal procedures. In many cases, the cosmetic periodontal surgery will complete the treatment you need. In some cases, it will be part of a larger treatment plan.

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