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Gum Contouring Can Improve Gummy Smiles with Minimal Discomfort


If you feel that your teeth look disproportionately short or if you are troubled by a crooked gum line,  Dr. Eugene D. Stanislaus and Dr. Lisa Reid can perform a gum lift, also known as gum contouring, at our Brooklyn Heights, NY, practice. By removing excess gum tissue, the procedure can enhance your smile and transform your entire appearance. In some cases, patients may want to combine gum contouring with other cosmetic procedures during a customized smile makeover.

Gum Lift: A closeup of a smiling mouth's teeth and gums.
Gum contouring can create a flattering frame for your teeth. 

Is a Gum Lift Right for You?

Many patients are uncomfortable with how their gum tissue affects their appearance and may even go out of their way to avoid smiling at all as a result. If you are concerned with how your gums impact your smile, a gum lift may be a good option.

Some of the most common conditions that this treatment can address include:

Asymmetrical Gums

Some individuals have an uneven gum line, which could be the result of dental damage or birth defects. This condition can make the teeth appear crooked or misshapen. Gum contouring can bring symmetry to your smile and enhance your overall appearance.

Enlarged Gums

Excess gum tissue can extend over the teeth, making them appear small or uneven. Also referred to as a “gummy smile,” this condition can detract from an otherwise beautiful appearance. Gum contouring eliminates excess tissue and reshapes the remaining gum line, revealing more tooth structure.

Cleft Gums 

Individuals born with extremely thin gingival tissue may develop clefts or breaks in the gums. This condition can also be the result of certain gum conditions, such as necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG). If left untreated, cleft gums can have a negative long-term effect on oral health.

Gum Craters

Characterized by depressions near the gingival margin, gum craters may be caused by periodontal disease or genetics. Like cleft gums, this condition can lead to more complex issues if not addressed in a timely manner.

Patients should be in good overall oral health before undergoing any cosmetic procedures. Periodontal disease, in particular, may limit your candidacy for a gum lift. However, Dr. Stanislaus or Dr. Reid can often treat the condition in-office to lay the foundations for the procedure in the future. 

Reducing the proper amount of gingival tissue reveals more of the tooth structure hiding underneath.

What to Expect during Treatment

Prior to your gum lift, Dr. Stanislaus or Dr. Reid will meet with you to discuss your goals for treatment. They may provide pictures of prior patients for reference to help you understand the results you can achieve. If necessary, they may even draw a line with a special pen directly on the gums so you can see where your new gum line will fall.

Illustration demonstrating position of gum line before and after surgery

Before surgery, our doctors will work with you to determine the best position for your gum line. 

Once you have settled on a suitable plan, your doctor will numb the gums with local anesthesia to keep you comfortable during the procedure. While this is sufficient in most cases, we can provide additional, deeper sedation, if needed. Once you are fully comfortable, your practitioner will remove a tiny layer of gum tissue. Dr. Stanislaus and Dr. Reid work very carefully using advanced techniques and technology, so the procedure will not impact the rest of your gums.

After gum contouring, many patients feel more confident and comfortable with smiling in general, which can have a notable impact on their social and professional lives.

While we can perform a gum lift as a standalone treatment, it is easy to combine this procedure with other cosmetic solutions, such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding to completely transform your entire smile. Often, combining these procedures will be part of a customized smile makeover, which combines two or more cosmetic treatments into one comprehensive plan.

The Benefits of Gum Contouring

Gum contouring is versatile and offers a wide range of aesthetic advantages. For example, this procedure:

  • Can eliminate excess gum tissue: The gums should be the frame for our smiles, never the focal point. Reducing the proper amount of gingival tissue reveals more of the tooth structure hiding underneath. As a result, the teeth appear more proportional to the smile.
  • Can bring balance to your smile: An uneven gum line can make the smile seem jagged or unhealthy. Reshaping the gum line enhances the overall appearance of a smile, delivering more symmetry and allowing the gums to delicately frame the teeth.
  • Offers permanent results: Once excess gum tissue is removed, it will not regenerate. Therefore, patients can enjoy their new smile for many years to come. It is important to note that minimal amounts of the supporting bone may need to be removed, as well. This will prevent the gums from growing back in the future.
  • Is safe and effective: Although every surgery carries some risk, gum contouring is one of the safest procedures available. During a consultation at our practice, your doctor will discuss your health history with you in detail to ensure there are no contraindications to treatment.

Gum contouring can have a tremendous effect on your appearance, giving you a younger, more proportionate smile. After the procedure, many patients feel more confident and comfortable with smiling in general, which can have a notable impact on their social and professional lives. 

While the results are dramatic, the procedure itself is highly conservative. Most patients report little discomfort during recovery, due in large part to the fact that no stitches are required. While you may notice some swelling, this typically fades within a few days, allowing you to enjoy the full effects of your treatment.

Are There Risks?

Like any surgical procedure, gum contouring carries some risks. However, complications are rare, and can typically be avoided by following the post-operative guidelines provided by your doctor. Contact our practice right away if you notice:

  • Persistent bleeding that lasts more than two days
  • Excessive bleeding that interferes with daily routines
  • Discomfort that is no longer manageable with prescription medications
  • Severe inflammation, discharge, or other signs of infection
  • The dressing that was placed over the site becomes loose or falls off prematurely

Generally speaking, gum contouring carries little risk for postoperative infection. If it does occur, however, your doctor will likely prescribe a round of oral antibiotics to address the issue.

Discuss Your Options

Dr. Stanislaus and Dr. Reid are dedicated to providing convenient, comfortable treatment for every patient. If you are unhappy with your gums, reach out today to schedule a consultation and discuss your candidacy. Contact us online anytime or give us a call at (718) 857-6639.

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"I've been very happy with my experiences at Dr. Stanislaus's office, and highly recommend him to anyone in the New York City area. He and his staff go above and beyond to do the best job possible."

-R.B. (Patient)

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44 Court St
8th Flr, Ste 808
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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