Laser Gum Contouring Can Gently Create a More Attractive, Balanced Smile

Gum contouring at our Richmond, VA, dental practice is a straightforward and simple procedure that can create a more attractive smile. Excessive gum tissue can be bothersome and affect the balance of your smile. To treat this condition, Dr. Davey Crockett will use precise laser techniques to meticulously contour the gum line. The procedure is sometimes performed with a scalpel and sutures, however, at Davey Crockett Dentistry, gum contouring is completed with state-of-the-art laser dentistry to reduce side effects and shorten patients' recovery time. We also offer soft-tissue grafting to treat recessed areas and restore a healthy, youthful look.

What is Gum Contouring?

Laser gum contouring is a common cosmetic procedure that can benefit patients who are unhappy with excess gum tissue. Dr. Crockett will use a diode laser during treatment to gently sculpt your gum line for improved aesthetics. You may qualify for gum contouring if you:

  • Have healthy teeth and gums
  • Are insecure about the appearance of your smile
  • Have excess gum tissue
  • Develop an uneven gum line
  • Identify with having a "gummy smile"
  • Have teeth that appear short or stubby

Illustration of laser gum contouring

Advantages of Laser Therapy Over Traditional Methods

Laser therapy is a revolutionary advancement in the field of dentistry, and offers numerous advantages over traditional surgical techniques. Some of these benefits include:

  • Precision: Laser treatment offers superior precision and accuracy over traditional techniques, allowing the doctor to carefully target the treatment area while leaving the surrounding tissue intact.
  • Symmetry: Because of its accuracy, our laser provides an aesthetically pleasing gum line that accentuates your smile for a beautifully balanced appearance.
  • Less Anesthesia: Gum contouring performed with a laser is typically comfortable and straightforward, meaning most people do not require sedation during the procedure. Patients also typically require less local anesthesia.
  • Less Bleeding: Our innovative laser cauterizes the tissue during treatment so bleeding during and after the procedure is minimal.
  • Reduced Swelling: Traditional hand instruments result in more pronounced post-operative irritation and inflammation. Laser therapy significantly reduces this effect.
  • Lower Risk of Infection: Laser therapy does not require physical contact with the tissues, as traditional surgery does. The laser also kills bacteria, reducing the chance of post-operative infections.
  • Faster Treatment: Because of its increased precision, gum contouring with a laser takes significantly less time than performing the procedure with a scalpel.
  • Minimal Recovery Time: Due to the minimally invasive nature of laser therapy, patients experience far less discomfort and irritation during their recovery process.

Improved Oral and Periodontal Health

Illustration of before and after gum contouring

In addition to cosmetic benefits, gum contouring can also provide improved health and function. Gum contouring – sometimes referred to as crown lengthening – can be performed to prepare a tooth for a restoration. For example, if a tooth has a cavity that is below the gum line, contouring can remove the excess gum tissue to allow easier placement of a dental filling. In other cases, gum contouring can create optimal space for a dental crown, including cases where the tooth has fractured at the gum line.

Occasionally, a dental crown can cause gingival inflammation. This typically occurs if the crown was placed slightly too far below the gum line. Situations such as these can be remedied with gum contouring, which can provide relief from redness and irritation. Gum contouring can also help patients with excess gum tissue access hard-to-reach areas between the teeth for proper cleaning. By removing minimal portions of tissue around the teeth, brushing and flossing is often more effective.

What to Expect During the Gum Contouring Procedure

Before beginning the procedure, Dr. Crockett will numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic. He also offers other sedation dentistry options for patients who struggle with dental anxiety or phobia. Once the treatment area is numb and you are completely comfortable, Dr. Crockett will use a diode laser to gently trim away excess gum tissue and reveal an attractively contoured and symmetrical gum line.

In addition to an aesthetic enhancement, gum contouring can also help patients better maintain their periodontal health.​

This procedure can be completed during a single office visit, and usually takes about one hour. Each individual responds to surgery differently, but patients can generally expect a full recovery in about one to two weeks. Throughout your recovery, we recommend avoiding nuts and seeds, as well as spicy and hard or crunchy foods that can irritate your gums and delay recovery.

Maintaining good oral hygiene can also help prevent irritation and infection. For the first few days, we recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle toothpaste. Some swelling can be expected but patients can take over-the-counter pain medication to manage discomfort. Once your recovery period is complete, you should enjoy greater confidence and improved aesthetics.

Combining Gum Contouring with Porcelain Veneers

Gum contouring is often performed as a standalone procedure, offering patients a more symmetrical, balanced smile. Sometimes, however, cosmetic imperfections can become visible once the excess tissue is removed. For example, you may notice slight discoloration or minor variances on the surfaces of the teeth.

Many patients choose to have porcelain veneers placed following the laser treatment to further enhance their results. These ultra-thin restorations are affixed to the front surfaces of your teeth to conceal an array of concerns, such as discoloration, chips, and gaps. Veneers can even address minor misalignment issues, making slightly crooked teeth appear flush to the adjacent teeth. Custom-crafted from high-quality ceramic, veneers can be color-matched to your surrounding teeth for a seamless smile. They are also incredibly lifelike, as the porcelain reflects light just like natural enamel.

Porcelain veneers are not a requirement following gum contouring. However, patients who choose veneers can enjoy a dramatically improved appearance and an instant boost in confidence. Dr. Crockett can help you determine if this complete smile makeover procedure is right for you.  

Enhance Your Smile Today

Excessive gum tissue can be a frustrating condition but for most patients, it can easily be corrected with gum contouring. If you are interested in achieving a more symmetrical gum line and an improved smile, contact our dental practice online or call (804) 282-2990 today. During your personal consultation. Dr. Crockett will explain this straightforward and simple procedure, so that you understand what is involved. At Davey Crockett Dentistry, achieving your cosmetic goals and optimal results are our top priorities.