“Do I Have A Gummy Smile?”

Do you have a gummy smile? Do your teeth appear too small, or there is too much gum showing? Aesthetic crown lengthening is a procedure which could  improve your smile if you selectively decide to change the proportion of your teeth and gum.

Before lengthening:

before_lengthening_jpgAfter Lengthening:


Your teeth are secured to your jaw via root structures that extend from the teeth into jaw bone. This bone is protected by the gums,  which extends down over the top of the tooth root structure. Excess gum tissue poses no health risk, but can be unsightly and make your teeth look tiny or not as harmony with your face. Aesthetic crown lengthening remedies this condition by trimming away excess gum (and in some cases bone), reducing the amount of display of gum and lengthening the visible crown of the tooth. Gingival (gum) contouring (like a gingival plasty or soft tissue crown lengthening) refers to trimming of the gum tissue only. Most crown lengthenings refer to the recontouring of both the gum and supporting bone (osseous crown lengthening), when there is more length of the tooth is desired.


Traditionally, crown lengthening is performed with scalpel and mechanical rotary tool which trim and flap open the gum also trim away some bone tissue. This mechanical force results unfavorable inflammatory response of the periodontal tissues  and taking up to 8 weeks to heal. The tissue must fully heal before restorations can take place. This procedure is often daunting to many patients!

Thankfully, new technology in the laser dentistry field has made aesthetic crown lengthening much easier and less invasive. By using a small fiber optic tip,  laser energy can be manipulated to trim or ablate away  tissues , disturbing the surrounding environment much less than traditional mechanical rotary instruments. The less invasive procedure means less pain, quicker healing and less trauma. The body does not react violently to laser treatment as it does blunt mechanical treatment!and often time the restorative work can be initiate quickly or even at the same visit. In some cases,  crown lengthening alone can  get you desirable bigger smile,but often time , the restorative work like bonding, veneers or crowns are called for the needed improvement or protection on dental structure.

When gingival contouring or  crown lengthening is performed – but left with a compromised biological width (2 to 3mm is necessary for safe formation of a protective zone from the gum border to the bone) –  gum tissue will stay inflammed and  grow back after several months. It is important to have an experienced dental professional for proper diagnosis before getting your gum trimmed. Find a dental professional who been properly trained using lasers for a more comfortable surgical experience (www. Laserdentistry.org). The design of the smile and the shaping of the gum line both need an aesthetic touch (apart from solid surgical technique), so it is equally important for  the dental professional  have aesthetic background to assure the best aesthetic result (www. aacd.com).

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