When a patient has more gum than teeth showing or his or her gums appear disproportionately large, he or she is said to have a "gummy" smile. This can make teeth appear smaller than they really are and, along with uneven gums, can detract from the beauty of the smile. When gum tissue grows too far over the tooth's surface, cosmetic dentist can use a specialized laser to sculpt the gum tissue in a very simple procedure known as gum recontouring or gum lifting.
Gum recontouring is a short, safe, and comfortable procedure, often performed only on the front teeth. In the first step of laser gum recontouring, the dentist will gently numb the gums to be sculpted with a mild anesthetic. Next, he or she will use a soft-tissue diode laser to gently remove excessive tissue while re-sculpting the gum line.
In the past, gum sculpting would be done with a scalpel, which caused bleeding and required stitches and an uncomfortable recovery. With laser gum lifting, there is no cutting or bleeding. Recovery from laser gum recontouring is fast and easy, since the laser immediately seals the newly sculpted tissue, eliminating the need for sutures and killing any bacteria present. Most patients who undergo laser gum lifting return to their daily activities immediately, however the gums may be slightly swollen or tender for up to one week. Any discomfort that results from laser gum recontouring is easily treated with over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen.