A Quick Guide To Dental Work On Your Gums

24 December 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


You are probably already aware that modern dentistry has provided a variety of options to improve your smile, since many people know someone who received a dental implant or had their teeth professionally whitened. However, receiving cosmetic work on your gums is also possible and provides several benefits; but those procedures may not always be as well-known. If you are unhappy with the shape, appearance or functionality of your gums, it is time to speak with your dental care provider about gum contouring and grafts.

Understanding Gum Contouring

It will first be helpful to learn what gum contouring is used for. Specifically, it is useful if your gums appear smaller or larger than they used to, which frequently occurs as the result of gum disease. In addition, if you have always been unhappy with the size of your gums or you think your smiles are too "gummy", gum contouring is a good choice.

Gum contouring is a procedure that either removes or adds to the tissue of your gums. It is typically performed using local anesthesia and your dentist is likely to mark the areas before he procedure. Marking your gums ahead of time allows you and your dentist to agree on what the the expected goal for the size of your gums will be. The dentist will remove excess tissue, which reduces the "gummy" appearance, while gums with receding tissue can be improved by grafting healthy tissue to the area as explained below.

When You Need Gum Grafts

Gum grafts are often necessary because of receding gums. At least 4 out of every 100 people have this problem and its early symptoms often go unnoticed. You may only notice the problem after your dentist observes it or until hot or cold foods become uncomfortable to eat, due to newly sensitive teeth and gums.

As the gums recede, they seem to become smaller, which eventually can expose dental roots. Obviously, that is not attractive, but the bigger concern is that exposed roots will often lead to the loss of nearby teeth. In that event, your dentist may need to give you a gum tissue graft. A graft involves the removal of one or more pieces of healthy gum tissue and surgically attaching it to your affected gums.

A graft using connective tissue, which uses tissue from the roof of your mouth is common. This procedure requires your dentist to create a flap of skin from your palate, remove tissue from within and then sew it up, before grafting it appropriately. The goal of grafting gum tissue is to reverse the recession of gums, which is frequently necessary to improve overall dental health.

Alternatively, your dentist may prefer a free gingival graft that uses tissue from the top of your mouth, without the use of a created flap. That may be recommended if there is concern about a lack of adequate healthy tissue with which to graft. Another option is using material from a tissue bank. 

In conclusion, work on your gums can improve their appearance, shape and usability. After the appropriate use of grafting or contouring your gums, you can once again look forward to showing off your beautiful smile and healthy gums. To learn more, speak with a local dentist like Bonnie Marshall S about your options.