When you smile, do you show a lot of gum? Does this make you feel self-conscious, and even stop you smiling in certain situations, just so that you don’t have to reveal your ‘gummy’ pearly whites? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Around 10% of people feel they show either too much or too little gum when they smile (though it tends to affect women more than men) at some point in their lives, usually as they reach the ages of 20-30 years old. Luckily, there is a solution that can restore your natural smile to its former glory – it’s called a gum lift.
What Is A Gum Lift? A gum lift (also known as a gingivectomy) is a simple dental procedure to correct overgrown or undergrown gums by removing and moving parts of your teeth and gums around to create a uniform gum line and smile. It’s a quick and painless procedure, and can be performed by a dentist in their surgery. The results should be a more normal, appealing smile, without an excess gum, and a gum line that is uniform in height and width across all of your teeth.
How Does It Work? A gum lift is a really simple and safe procedure. Your dentist will first give you an injection of local anaesthetic to make sure you don’t feel anything during the surgery. They will then use a scalpel to cut out and remove portions of the gums that are coming down further than others. Depending on your dentist, they may opt to use a laser to make the cuts instead. The laser is now being seen as the tool of choice for this kind of procedure because it can cauterise the wounds as it creates them. This leads to a much faster recovery time and less pain and swelling during the healing process. The dentist will use their tools to reshape your gums into a pre-agreed aesthetically pleasing shape, and consult with you as they go to make sure you’re happy with your new smile.
How Does It Heal? The healing time for a gum lift does depend on whether your dentist has used a scalpel or laser to perform the procedure. For scalpel procedures it can take a few weeks to fully heal, but if they used a laser, the recovery time can be cut down to around a week. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to reduce the swelling and handle any pain or discomfort you may feel as your gums heal. Once the anaesthetic wears off you should be able to eat and drink as normal, although you should avoid alcohol and spicy foods for a little while! The most important thing during the healing process mistaking care of your teeth as your gums heal. You’ll need to gently brush your teeth and gums, careful not to aggravate your gum line too much, floss sparingly and then gently swish some alcohol-free mouthwash.
Do I Need One? The good news is, not everyone will need a gum lift to achieve that perfect smile. But there are some conditions that can cause a gum lift, and some symptoms that may be relieved by having a gum lift done. If you experience any of the following, you may want to look into a gum lift:
- Excess or overgrown gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Swollen gums
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Sensitive teeth
However, you a gum lift can also be used as a purely cosmetic tool. People often get a gum lift if they:
- Have a gummy smile
- Feel their teeth are too small
- Want to improve the appearance of their smile
- Want to become more confident in their smile
Medically, a gum lift can hugely decrease your chances of bacterial build-up, which can lead to gum disease, and cosmetically it can give you the confidence of a healthier looking smile. If you’re looking at having a gum lift done, then we advise you book a consultation with your dentist and talk through your options. At Appledore, we perform cosmetic dental procedures like gum lifts for hundreds of clients every year, giving them the confidence to smile as wide as you can, whenever you want. For more information about gum lifts, just get in touch with the team at Appledore today.