What Is Involved in Laser Gum Contouring in Cedar Park, Texas?

It seems as though modern dental technology can accomplish just about anything, and it’s true! For many years, dental patients in Cedar Park, Texas with “gummy” smiles had two choices: they could go through an invasive surgical procedure to remove the excess tissue, or they could simple live with the condition. Fortunately, today’s dental patients have another option: laser gum contouring. If you’re living with a “gummy” smile and are wondering what is involved in laser gum contouring, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to find out more about this remarkable procedure.


Do You Have a “Gummy” Smile?

A “gummy” smile is a condition in which a person’s gum line extends too far down on the surface of the front teeth, leaving that individual with a smile that displays just as much gum tissue as it does tooth surface. The result is usually a less-than-desirable smile. Gummy smiles can be caused by a variety of issues, including heredity, poor oral hygiene, and certain medications. The laser gum contouring procedure is designed for these patients, and it can make a huge change in the appearance of a person’s smile.

What Used to Be Involved in Gum Contouring

For many years, prior to the development of laser technology, a gum contouring procedure involved the dentist or oral surgeon using a scalpel to literally cut away excess gum tissue. Afterward, sutures were required to stitch together the gums, and the patient was faced with a long and often painful recovery. Fortunately, gum contouring is much different today, and it’s all thanks to laser technology.

What Is Involved in Laser Gum Contouring

Laser gum contouring is a procedure in which a skilled dentist literally sculpts the patient’s gum line, removing excess tissue and exposing more tooth surface. It is completed in a single trip to the dentist’s office, and the end result is a dramatically improved smile. Better still – this remarkable procedure is relatively simple, quick and pain-free! Although some of the specifics may vary from one patient to the next, what follows are the steps typically involved in laser gum contouring.

  • Anaesthesia/sedation – The procedure begins with the dentist applying a local anaesthetic to the affected gum tissue. Most patients are also offered some form of dental sedation. The anaesthetic will numb the area where the dentist will be working, and the sedation will help to relax the patient during the process. Although it varies somewhat depending on the dentist, most dental professionals offer sedation that includes nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, and IV sedation. Nitrous oxide is a good choice for patients with mild anxiety, people who feel a bit more anxious may require oral sedation, and IV sedation is commonly used for people undergoing some form of oral surgery. With any of these methods, the patient will remain conscious but feel very relaxed throughout the procedure.
  • Resculpting – Using a specially designed dental laser, the dentist removes the gum tissue from the upper portion of the patient’s front teeth. The laser not only effectively removes the excess tissue; it also cauterizes the gums at the same time. This significantly reduces the amount of bleeding during the procedure, and it promotes faster healing of the surgical site. In most cases, sutures are not necessary thanks to the laser, but some patients may require stitches to hold the gum tissue in place during the healing process.

Typically, a laser gum contouring process only takes between 1 and 2 hours, depending on how significantly the patient’s gums need to be reshaped. Afterward, the dentist will provide the patient with a set of instructions for how best to take care of the gum tissue at home while healing takes place, which generally takes a few short weeks after the procedure is completed.

Gum Contouring for Receding Gums

While the vast majority of gum contouring procedures involve repairing gummy smiles, a similar procedure can be used for patients with receding gums, where their gums have receded too far and are exposing too much of the tooth surface. This can not only negatively impact the appearance of the patient’s smile; it can also create painful sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks. In these cases, the dentist removes gum tissue from another part of the mouth and secures it in place around the teeth that are overly exposed.

Recovering from Laser Gum Contouring

Although the healing process for many patients may take a few weeks, for some people the healing may take just a matter of days. It all depends on how extensive the surgery was. Your dentist will most likely recommend that you rest for a day or two after the procedure, avoiding any strenuous exercise. It’s normal to experience some swelling of the gum tissue at the surgical site, as well as some amount of tenderness and/or discomfort. You should avoid brushing for flossing at the site until the gums heal, but you can rinse with a combination of 1 teaspoon salt in 8 ounces of water combined with a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide. This rinse will not only clean your mouth; it will also help to prevent infection of the gum tissue. Alternatively, your dentist may recommend an antibiotic mouthwash to reduce the chance of infection while your gums heal.

Your dentist will also recommend that you eat only soft foods for the first few days after the procedure. This would include foods like yogurt, applesauce and soup, for example. Avoid any foods that might break apart and get lodged in the gum tissue – such as nuts and seeds.

Usually, your dentist will want to schedule a follow-up visit a week or so after the procedure to see how well you’re healing and look for any signs of infection.

Find Out More About Laser Gum Contouring

To learn more about what is involved in laser gum contouring, and to find out whether or not you are a good candidate for this procedure, contact your Cedar Park, Texas dentist today and schedule an appointment.

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