Achieving Good Dental Health Can Be Easier than You Think

Everything You Wanted To Know About Gum Lifts

For many people, having a smile that shows off more of their gums than their teeth can feel embarrassing. Fortunately, there's a cosmetic dental procedure available that can help correct "gummy" smiles. Gum lifts, also known as "gum contouring," reshapes the gum line for a bolder and more proportional smile.

The following offers an in-depth guide to gum lifts, including information about the procedure itself and its cost.

How Does It Benefit Your Dental Appearance?

There are plenty of ways that a gum lift can benefit your dental appearance. For starters, the procedure adds visual length to your teeth, making them appear longer and better proportioned when compared with other teeth. Trimming back part of the gum line can also reveal and accentuate your teeth's natural contours, resulting in better, more aesthetically pleasing smile.

Most importantly, a gum lift can help restore confidence in your smile, especially if you've spent years embarrassed over your gummy teeth.

How Is It Done?

During the preparatory stages, your dentist will outline what steps he or she will take to complete the procedure. In addition, your dentist will also use a pen to mark where the new gum line will reside upon completion. This will show you exactly how much gum will be manipulated or removed during the procedure.

After numbing the gum area with a local anesthetic, your dentist will use a specially-designed laser to remove the excess gum tissue from the tooth crown. The laser also cauterizes the remaining tissue during cutting, minimizing bleeding and the possibility of post-surgery infection. Ultrasonic and/or radiosurgery tools may also be used to remove the excess tissue.

Gum lifts can be done within a single dentist visit, under most circumstances. If any other work has to be done (such as dental bonding), it may take an additional visit to complete the work.

Is It Painful?

In the past, the typical gum lift procedure was performed using scalpels and stitches -- invasive surgery techniques that often resulted in excessive pain and lengthy recovery times. Today, patients who undergo a typical gum lift procedure experience little to no pain, thanks in large part to the non-invasive or minimally invasive techniques commonly used by cosmetic dentists.

How Quickly Does It Heal?

Once you're done, you may experience some soreness or slight swelling of the gums for up to a week after the procedure. Keep in mind that this is normal and the pain can be minimized with ibuprofen or another non-aspirin painkiller. It may take several weeks for the site of the surgery to heal completely. Rinsing your mouth with a non-alcohol mouthwash can also help speed up the healing process.

In the meantime, it's important to safeguard your newfound smile by avoiding foods and drinks that could aggravate your gums. This includes any food containing seeds, chili and other spicy foods and hard foods such as potato chips. None of these items should be eaten during the first few days after the surgery. You should also avoid taking any pain relievers containing aspirin, as it could lead to excessive bleeding.

Are There Any Risks?

One significant risk of the gum lift procedure is that the gum tissue could grow back over the teeth. Not only is this a relatively rare occurrence, but it can also be avoided by removing a small amount of bone over the crown. There's also a remote risk of infection, especially if there's underlying tooth decay.

How Much Does It Cost?

According to CostHelper, the average cost of having the gum reshaped around a single tooth ranges from $50 to $350. However, a typical gum lift procedure involves reshaping the gum line around all visible front teeth. An extensive gum lift can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more, depending on the amount of work required.

Since gum lifts are considered a cosmetic procedure, most dental insurance plans won't cover it unless the procedure is required to correct an underlying dental condition. It's usually a good idea to ask your dental insurance provider whether or not they'll cover gum lifts before having the procedure performed.  

For more information, talk with a local cosmetic dentist or visit websites like