In the search for the ultimate “smile makeover”
it is still possible to improve a patient’s smile where
there is actually nothing wrong with their teeth! Cosmetic
gum surgery, or periodontal plastic surgery, can correct almost
any deformity or gingival problems preventing you from a beautiful
smile. Cosmetic gum surgery is beneficial in cases where there
is excessive display of gums or where there is gum recession.
In short , it involves the management of gingival defects
and deformities that may be preventing you from having the
smile you always wanted. Among these are:
• A "gummy" smile
• Uneven gum line due to "short" teeth or
receding gums ("long" teeth)
• Lost or "collapsed" gums due to missing
• "Black holes" between your teeth, crowns,
bridges, or implants
• The exposure of unerupted teeth
The gum tissue is like a frame that provides form and shape
to the top of your tooth. A less than attractive smile results
when the integrity of the gum is compromised or the actual
gum between your teeth becomes weak. Usually due to poor hygiene
(gum disease), you actually begin to lose gum tissue.
Used to correct a 'gummy smile' (a significant
portion of your gum is exposed when you smile), cosmetic gum
surgery is the procedure of lengthening your teeth from the
neck of the tooth upwards. Your teeth then appear to be longer
and much less gum is seen when you smile.
The "Long Tooth" Smile - As we age, our gums may
shrink and recede which makes our teeth look longer. While
this is often age-related, it can also occur due to a bad
The "Gummy Smile" - This is a problem where your
teeth appear to be too short. Gum sculpting is often the solution.
To solve this, a procedure is used to remove the excess tissue
of your "gummy" smile, which then exposes more of
Types of Cosmetic Gum Surgery Procedures
There are two primary procedures for cosmetic gum surgery,
depending on your current smile.
"Gummy Smile" (Excessive Gingival Display)
A "Gummy Smile" can occur due to wear of teeth from
teeth grinding, a short upper lip, or having a longer than
usual upper jawbone. This smile is when your teeth appear
too small and your gums appear to large.
"Long Tooth Smile" (Gum Recession)
As your gums recede, your teeth appear longer than normal.
While "long teeth" may result in an unattractive
smile, you should also be concerned with root sensitivity
and possible tooth loss. Recent advances in techniques and
materials have resulted in significant improvements in both
comfort, predictability and esthetics.
Cosmetic Gum Surgery
• To Correct a "Gummy Smile"
Cosmetic gum surgery can be done to reduce the excess gum
and bone. The removal of these tissues allows for normal sized
teeth and for a normal gum line appearance by using an instrument,
to remove the undesirable tissue.
• To Correct a "Long Tooth Smile"
As your gums recede, your teeth look much "longer"
than normal. Such gum recession exposes your sensitive root
surface which often makes hot or cold foods and drinks a painful
experience. Teeth can become loose as your gum recedes. The
cosmetic gum surgery solution is basically done by removing
tissue from the roof of your mouth and then grafting it onto
your gum line. This tissue then reinforces thin gums or fills
in areas where your gums have receded.
• Gum Contouring
In the case of a “gummy smile”, the gums are simply
too big or appear too big when the patient smiles.
Where gum tissue overgrows to cover more of the tooth than
is desirable, a cosmetic dental technique called gum contouring
can be used.
Sometimes the gum tissue overgrows in certain sections of
the mouth causing the smile to look lopsided or uneven –
in these cases, selective gum contouring is used to “even-up”
Advantages & Disadvantages
of Cosmetic Gum Surgery
• Healing is usually quick and your more youthful and
beautiful smile is obvious early on.
• It has been reported that cosmetic gum surgery additionally
improves the health of your gums.
• The procedure to correct receding gums may even reduce
your tooth sensitivity to cold or hot foods or beverages while
protecting your roots from decay and lessening further gum
• Cosmetic gum surgery is of course, surgery which is
often performed in segments under a local anesthetic.