Gum Contouring 101: Why and How It’s Performed, Healing Time, Costs, and Efficacy

Gum contouring, also known as gingivoplasty or gingival sculpting, is a dental procedure to correct receding or inflamed gums. In most cases, people with uneven gum lines opt for the procedure to enhance the appearance of their teeth and gums.

But in some cases, a periodontist or dental specialist recommends this procedure if the gum problems can affect someone’s oral health.

At TruCare Dentistry, we have performed many successful gum contouring procedures and have helped people regain their confidence, happiness, as well as their overall dental health. In this blog post, we have discussed the key things you need to know about the procedure.

When gum contouring is medically necessary

More often than not, gum contouring is an elective procedure that’s done to correct the aesthetics of the mouth. But it becomes a medical necessity in certain situations.

In the case of periodontal diseases, gum contouring is a necessary treatment option. Some periodontal complications don’t subside with nonsurgical treatments such as the administration of antibiotics to eliminate the infection and bacterial growth and dental cleaning to restore gums.

In such cases, the dental specialist may recommend pocket reduction surgery or a regeneration procedure that will cause the regrowth of bone and gum tissue. Usually, gum contouring is a part of both procedures.

Steps involved in a gum contouring procedure

Gum contouring is typically an in-office procedure that’s performed by a periodontist or a cosmetic dentist. It takes a few hours and is completed in one visit.

The procedure is performed to correct two types of gum problems—excessive and receding gum.

In both cases, the dental specialist will administer local anesthesia to sedate the gum area.

In case of excessive gums, the periodontist will surgically remove the excessive gum tissue by using a scalpel or a soft tissue laser. After that, they will resculpt the gumline and may use sutures to keep the gum tissue in place.

In case of gum recession, the dental specialist will remove gum tissues from a different part of the mouth such as the palate, and add the tissue in the receding area. The procedure will keep the added gum tissue and restructure the gumline.

Typically a normal gum contouring procedure takes between one and two hours but the duration may differ due to the extent of resculpting and the degree of the contouring required.

How painful is a gum contouring procedure

A gum contouring procedure can be performed using a scalpel or a soft tissue laser. The former makes the surgical procedure a little invasive and can cause a little pain and discomfort. The latter is minimally invasive and virtually painless during and after the procedure.

That said, the pain and discomfort are proportional to the extent of gums removal and reshaping.

Before the procedure, the dental specialist will administer local anesthesia to numb the gums. It won’t cause any pain or discomfort during the procedure but can cause numbness and tenderness after the procedure.

Post the procedure, the periodontist will recommend a pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You also can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Applying a cold compress and ice pack after the procedure can reduce swelling and pain. The former works best when it’s applied for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Recovering from a gum contouring procedure

Healing from gum contouring ranges from ten to fifteen days. Again, it depends on the tools used as well as the extent of the surgery. Soft tissue laser procedures take less recovery time compared to dental scalpels.

You will need to limit some activities for a couple of days depending on the tenderness and the way you feel after the procedure.

For the initial two to three days, you should eat soft and lukewarm foods such as soup, pasta, eggs, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, canned or baked fruits, and custard. You also can eat some cool foods such as yogurt, applesauce, Jell-O, and soft fruits such as bananas and melons.

For the best post-procedure diet plan, have a word with the dentist and stick to their instructions.

Some days after the surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment in which the periodontist will examine the gums to monitor the recovery and check for any infection in the gums. The signs of infection include swelling, pain, and discharge from the gums. If there’s an infection, they will recommend an antiseptic mouthwash to kill the infection.

Cost of the procedure

The cost of a standard gum contouring procedure ranges between US$50 and US$350 for one tooth. It can go up to US$3,000 for the entire front top teeth. The cost will, of course, differ based on the extent of the gum restoration or removal procedure. The cost will also vary depending on the level of expertise and experience of the dental specialist performing the procedure and the tools being used.

Now, the question comes, does dental insurance cover the cost of gum contouring?

As gum contouring, in a majority of cases, is an elective procedure and is performed for cosmetic reasons, it isn’t usually covered in dental insurance. But if it’s a medical necessity, then dental insurance may cover the cost of the gum contouring procedure. If a dental specialist prescribes gum contouring for dental health reasons dental insurance may cover some part of the total cost.

Risks associated with gum contouring

A gum contouring procedure comes with its share of risks, which include:

  • Infection
  • Relapse of gum tissue
  • Allergic reaction to the anesthetic

The suitable candidate for gum contouring

Even though a gum contouring procedure is suitable for people with receding or excessive gums, it is recommended for those who have healthy teeth and gums and practice good dental hygiene. People with poor oral hygiene and more complicated dental problems must consult with their dentist to know if they can undergo the procedure.

Efficacy of gum contouring

Gum contouring procedures that are performed by experienced and proficient periodontists and cosmetic dentists have an extremely high success rate. The results of gum contouring procedures can last for a lifetime with good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups.

In conclusion,

Gum contouring is a dental procedure that restores gum tissue if there is gum recession and surgically removes if there is excess gum tissue around the teeth. At TruCare Dentistry in Roswell, GA, we believe that healthy teeth and gums are indispensable for a healthy life. If you are looking for a gum contouring procedure, then schedule an appointment today.