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Cosmetic Gum Contouring

At University Periodontal Associates in Houston, we can change the look of your smile with a simple procedure known as gum contouring. This process can help your teeth appear more even, improving your look while also improving your oral health. Gum contouring is a simple procedure that can have a large impact on your smile. Dr. Dennison will make simple cuts to remove excess gum tissue or can place Botox injections at the lip line to relax the lip muscle. The first step is to meet with Dr. Dennison, together, you will review and discuss your gums, their look, and their health. We will then make recommendations based on your individualized needs. Gum contouring can provide our patients with a dramatic enhancement to the look of their smile and reduce the area that bacteria can hide, see what we can do for you.

Gum contouring, sometimes referred to as gum reshaping or tissue sculpting, is a dental cosmetic procedure that can even out an uneven gum line. Looking in a mirror, patients may notice that their gum tissue may be too low, or too high on their teeth. By reshaping this tissue, we can help you have a healthier smile, and one to be proud of.

What is a Gummy Smile?

The phrase gummy smile refers to patients who have bumpy, gum tissue that extends over the surface of the top of their teeth. Some of our Houston patients may not like the look of their tooth to gum proportions, and it is not ideal for their oral health. Patients can develop a gummy smile due to:

•  Tooth Eruption: The way that your tooth came up, or erupted, can lead to excessive gum tissue. Any disruption of the eruption process may prohibit the tooth from being able to fully extend, which can then lead to a buildup of tissue.
•  Bad Bite: Excessive tissue can develop from an overgrowth of the upper jaw.
•  Upper Lip: For some patients, it may not be their tissue, but the positioning of their lip. A muscular hyperactivity of the upper lip can cause the lip to rise particularly high when smiling, chewing or talking, displaying more gum tissue.

What is Gum Contouring?

Gum contouring is the removal of this excessive tissue. Patients may not care for the aesthetics of a look of a gummy smile, but even more important than the cosmetics is the dental health. A gummy smile, or overhanging tissue, is a place that food debris and bacteria can hide. Infection causing material can get trapped under the tissue and would be difficult to remove, leading to incidents of decay. To maintain a healthy smile, we want to remove this excessive tissue.

During your evaluation, we can measure the amount of excess tissue that the patients have. On average, patients ideally have about 2 millimeters of gum tissue showing when they smile. If the amount of gum tissue exceeds 3-4 millimeters, this is classified as a gummy smile. The removal of excess gum tissue is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. It is performed in our Houston, TX office, and in most cases, the patient only needs a basic anesthetic for slight numbing before treatment. Once numbed, Dr. Dennison will remove the excess tissue with small cuts. Besides removing tissue, we take extra steps to ensure that the tissue blends well with neighboring tissue, giving you an even, and smooth look.

Botox Injections for the Upper Lip

For some patients, it’s not the tissue that is a problem, but the upper lip. Botox injections can be used to relax the lip muscle, allowing it to loosen, and not pull back so far. This is a treatment of retraining the muscle. Botox only works if it is the lip muscle and not bone issues. Botox, though known of its cosmetic benefits, offers many therapeutic benefits as well, including retraining muscles.

Our staff at University Periodontal Associates is happy to review and discuss your options with you concerning your oral health care, including a gummy smile. Contact our Houston, TX office staff at (832) 975-0990 today for more information.