Healthy, well-contoured, pink gum tissue compliments and frames the teeth.
The esthetic framing of the gum tissue is as necessary to the teeth as a quality frame is to a painting. Gum tissue that is red, swollen, and unsymmetrical in appearance detracts from otherwise healthy teeth.
Making Gums Healthy
The first order of business is to return the tissue to a healthy state. That is to reduce any inflammation and get the tissue tight and pink. Once that is achieved, you evaluate the contours of the tissue.
When you look at an attractive smile, you see not only beautiful teeth but also gum tissue that is symmetrically draped around each tooth. The edge of the gum tissue (gingival margins) should be at the same height for the two front teeth and the two canines.
The gingival margin of the two lateral incisors, which are next to the front teeth, should be about 1 to 1 1/2 millimeters lower than the other teeth. Now we know what normal gum tissue is. What about tissue with poor contours?
A common problem is unsymmetrical gum tissue. Which means the gingival margins/gum line are not at an esthetic position (notice the differences in the height of the gum line in the two pictures). The gum tissue could be lower on one front tooth and not the other, thereby; creating the appearance that one tooth is longer than the other.
Another scenario (as in the adjacent photo) would be that the gingival margins of all the teeth are at the same height or the teeth appear to be too short. Then there is the gummy smile. When an individual smiles, they show too much gum tissue.
Gum Lift and Contouring
Sometimes all that may be required is to surgically contour the gum tissue to a more esthetically balanced appearance. This is called a simple cosmetic gum lift. Dr. Pohl performs this procedure utilizing a laser and only a topical anesthetic (no needles). The tissue heals very quickly with minimal discomfort.
Of course, there are times when contouring the tissue alone is not enough. In those circumstances, the bone at the front of the root may have to be reduced.
This is done because the gingival margins need to be about 3 millimeters from the edge of the bone. If you don’t reduce the bone, the tissue will grow back. This procedure, while more invasive than a simple gum lift, is still relatively comfortable when done properly.
The cosmetic gum lift is a remarkably simple cosmetic procedure that can make a tremendous difference to one’s smile.
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