- Gingivoplasty is a procedure that reshapes the appearance of the gums.
- Other names for the procedure are gum recontouring or gum contouring.
- Gingivoplasty can be used to increase the length of front teeth for cosmetic reasons. Gingivoplasty with bone recontouring can be done to allow placing a crown if a tooth is decayed or broken close to the gum line.
- Dentists or periodontists perform the procedure under local anesthesia.
- Side effects include bleeding, discomfort, and potential risks for infection.
- The procedure usually takes an hour or less depending upon how much reshaping a dentist must do.
- There’s minimal recovery downtime, although you may have to wear a special dressing over your gums.
- Costs can range from $600 to $2,000, depending on how extensive the procedure is.
- The procedure may help to improve confidence and the appearance of your smile.
Gingivoplasty is a procedure to reshape the gums’ appearance. Some doctors may call this procedure “gum recontouring.” Having too-long gums on the front teeth can create a “gummy smile.” Minor gummy smiles can be fixed with gingivoplasty.
Gingivoplasty could be accompanied with bone recontouring, which is also referred as crown lengthening.
Keep reading to find out more about gingivoplasty and if it’s right for you.
A dental surgical specialist called a periodontist usually performs a gingivoplasty. Sometimes, a cosmetic dentist may offer the procedure.
Some of the factors that may affect how much the procedure costs you include:
- location in the mouth
- number of teeth the periodontist is addressing
- surgical expertise
A periodontist will usually offer a consultation that is low-cost or free of charge prior to the procedure itself. The costs can widely vary, ranging from $600 to $2,000 or more.
During a gingivoplasty, a periodontist uses a tool to cut or reshape a portion of the gums. This includes a scalpel, laser, or electrocautery. One of the advantages to using a laser for treatment over a scalpel or other cutting tool is that the laser is able to kill bacteria present on the teeth and mouth.
Sometimes, doctors perform a gingivoplasty after a gingivectomy, which is a procedure used to remove and replace damaged gum tissue. Other times, they perform it purely as a cosmetic procedure.
A gingivoplasty is an outpatient procedure periodontists perform in their office. While the techniques and tools may vary slightly based on your goals, the following is a general outline for gingivoplasty:
- Your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned to remove any remaining plaque.
- Your periodontist uses a local anesthetic to numb the gums.
- A periodontist will remove gum tissue to shape it as needed over your teeth.
- Your periodontist will place a dressing over the gum tissue.
To treat patients with minor gummy smile, some doctors may use a gingivoplasty in combination with botulinum toxin type A (Botox, Dysport) injections. These injections are usually administered to the side of each nostril. Botox will limit the movement of muscles that pull up the lip. The effect helps to lower the upper lip when smiling, which can make the smile appear less “gummy.” This is especially more effective when the origin of a gummy smile stems from a hyper-mobile upper lip that moves significantly high when one smiles.
The gums are the treatment target for gingivoplasty. The purpose may be cosmetic, such as when a person has a “gummy” smile.
A person may also undergo a gingivoplasty after they’ve undergone a gingivectomy with gum tissue grafting. This procedure is when a periodontist removes diseased or damaged gum tissue and grafts new, healthy tissue onto where the previous tissue was.
A gingivoplasty can help to reshape the grafted tissue for a more cosmetically pleasing appearance.
Gingivoplasty could be done in combination with orthodontic treatment to create a better smile. For adult patients, complex orthodontic treatment requires a combination of procedures done by periodontists, prosthodontists, and general dentists.
A periodontist should discuss the risks and potential side effects with you before the procedure. Examples include:
- bleeding, usually for up to 48 hours after the procedure
- pain and discomfort
Long-lasting complications after gingivoplasty are rare. However, you should call your periodontist if you experience symptoms such as bleeding that doesn’t lessen or stop, pain that gets worse instead of better over time, swelling at the surgical site that gets worse, or swelling at or below the jawline. These could indicate the presence of an infection.
A periodontist will usually recommend an antiseptic mouthwash to prevent infection post-surgery. You should avoid tobacco products because they can impair your healing.
Your periodontist will also recommend some dietary changes to reduce risks for gum injury and pain. This includes:
- choosing soft foods, such as mashed potatoes and bananas
- eating bland foods that reduce risks for nausea and irritation, such as Jell-O and applesauce
- avoiding crunchy foods that could damage the gums
It may take several weeks for your gums to fully heal after a gingivoplasty. Your periodontist will likely recommend a follow-up appointment after your procedure to ensure that your gums are healing well.
The following are some examples of patients’ results before and after gingivoplasty. You should speak with your dentist thoroughly before undergoing the procedure so you have the most realistic expectations for your results after surgery.
There isn’t much preparation on your part for gingivoplasty. If you do smoke or use tobacco products, refraining from using them as long as possible before your procedure. This will improve your gum healing.
Your dentist will clean your teeth thoroughly before the procedure, so there’s usually no other preparation on your part.
Periodontists practice across the United States. To find one near you, you can use the Find a Periodontist tool from the American Academy of Periodontology.
You can also search for a cosmetic dentist who’s a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry using the Find a Local Cosmetic Dentist search tool.
Another option is to ask your dentist if they can refer you to a cosmetic dentist or periodontist that performs gingivoplasty.