Gingival (Gum) Lifts
A gingival lift, otherwise known as a gum lift or gum contouring, is a cosmetic dentistry procedure designed to reduce and reshape highly visible gums. For patients who have always been bothered by having a gummy smile, this treatment can correct the problem and offer an aesthetic improvement to the appearance.
An individual may have an abundance of gum tissue showing for several reasons. Sometimes when teeth erupt from the gums, the gums do not recede appropriately. The result is a gummy smile and small-appearing teeth. In some people, the upper lip rises too high, exposing an excess of gum tissue. The gum tissue may also be uneven, coming to a lower point on some teeth than others. This can make the teeth visually appear to be different lengths.
Lasers are the safest, most effective way to perform gingival lifts. Their precision allows the dentist to reshape the gums to create better symmetry in the smile while cutting back on excess gum tissue. They remove only the targeted area of the gums, leaving all surrounding tissue unharmed. Laser gingival lifts also offer patients a more comfortable experience as they cause very little pain and therefore require only topical anesthesia. In addition, laser treatments result in almost no bleeding and tend to heal faster than traditional surgery.
The gingival lift procedure is typically performed in approximately one hour. Once the topical anesthesia has been applied and taken effect, the dentist will direct the laser energy to the excess gum tissue to remove it and reshape the existing tissue. No sutures are necessary because the laser seals the gum tissue, which also minimizes the risk of developing a post-procedure infection.
After the procedure is completed, your gums may be slightly sore or swollen for a few days. However, any discomfort is usually mild and should respond to an over-the-counter pain reliever. Patients can return to normal activities immediately after a gingival lift, but it is essential to follow all instructions from the dentist on certain eating and drinking restrictions that may apply for several days.