Gum lifts or gingivectomy is a procedure in cosmetic dentistry that is intended to raise the gum line and prevent gummy smiles. This helps create the impression of longer teeth and therefore make someone’s smile appear more attractive. Gum lifts do this by exposing more of the tooth which has given rise to an alternative term for the procedure namely crown-lengthening. Gum-lift procedures were initially meant to treat gum disease and their use in cosmetic dentistry is a recent development. Here then is everything you need to know about gum lifts.
What Is A Gummy Smile
How attractive a smile is usually a factor of several things such as the shape of the mouth, the shape, color and alignment of teeth and the positioning of gum tissue. People who have gummy smiles often have excessive gum tissue that makes the teeth appear shorter. In some cases, the teeth are actually shorter due to a variety of reasons such as bruxism (the habit of grinding teeth together and thus wearing them down). Other factors that may cause a gummy smile include having a short upper lip or when the upper lip extends too far back and thus exposing too much gum. Regardless of the cause, having a gummy smile often leads to the individual becoming very self-conscious and gummy smiles are generally considered to be unattractive. For this reason, people with this problem may opt to have a gum lift to help correct the anomaly. There are two approaches that are used for gum lifts.
In surgical gingivectomy, a surgical scalpel is used to trim and shape the gum. Excess gum tissue is removed from around the teeth and what remains is reattached back using stitches. The affected area is then treated with various compounds (such as saline) to prevent infection before being dressed. For the patient’s comfort, a local anesthetic is used to ensure that the procedure is not painful. The dressing on the treated area is typically left in place for about a week.
An alternative to surgical gingivectomy is laser gingivectomy where laser light is used to make very precise incisions into gum tissue. Laser gingivectomy is increasingly popular because it is not as invasive as its surgical counterpart, patients report significantly less discomfort and the treated area heals much faster than if the procedure is done through surgery.
Determining If You Need A Gum Lift
Typically, many patients first discuss with their dentists about the procedure. Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to get an idea of your overall oral health. Your dentist will particularly be looking for any signs of gum disease (red swollen gums) which must be treated first before the procedure can be done. Your dentist will also examine your gum contours and how the procedure can help align the gum line.
If you are in New York and looking for an experienced dental practitioner to perform this procedure, reach out to Dr. Alex Rubinov. His dental practice offers a range of services including teeth whitening, smile makeovers, cosmetic dentistry, and orthodontics, to name but a few. Contact the team at (718) 253-0800 for an appointment.