August 15, 2018

Gummy Smile and uneven gums easily corrected with dental gum laser

gummy smile treatment with laser

Top photo: Brandi's gums covered over half of her lower front teeth making them appear as little stubs or baby teeth. Second photo: Immediately after laser gum reshaping which removed unnecessary excess gums and exposed the tooth to its normal length. Note the slight roughness of the gum tissue immediately after the laser treatment. Third photo: One week after laser treatment. The gums are smooth again and 95% healed. Bottom photo: Three weeks after laser treatment. Gums totally healed and Brandi's teeth and gums now look very normal.

Brandi from Laguna Niguel had a gummy smile.  She actually had excess gums that covered over much of her lower front teeth making them appear half the size that they actually were.  Her teeth almost looked like they were baby teeth!  She was very unhappy with the appearance of her tiny teeth and gummy smile and came to Orange County cosmetic dentist Dr. Huefner to discuss her treatment options.  She didn’t know if she needed to have surgery, dental crowns or veneers or if anything could even be done to improve her smile.

Why some people have a gummy smile?

There are several different reasons why people will have an overly gummy smile, but the most common is that there is simply an excess of gums tissue (i.e. thicker than normal) covering over much of one or more teeth.  The great news that if it is only an excess gums problem, and most often this excess is not useful or necessary, then some of the excess gum tissue can be reduced with a very simple and noninvasive dental procedure called laser gum recontouring or laser gum reshaping.

Laser gum reshaping

In Brandi’s case, she was an excellent candidate for laser gum reshaping to remove that excess gum tissue that was hiding half of her lower front teeth.  In the top photo you can see how much excess gums tissue she had and how small her lower teeth appeared.  When we explained to Brandi that this could be easily corrected with the dental gum laser she was excited and anxious to have Dr. Huefner do the laser treatment.  Dr. Huefner gave Brandi a short acting local anesthetic that would numb her gums for approximately 15-20 minutes.  This short acting local anesthetic would give Dr. Huefner enough time to complete the laser reshaping without causing Brandi any pain or discomfort.

Brandi wanted to know whether there would be a lot of bleeding of her gums during the procedure and if she would be getting stitches.  Happily the answer was no to both of these questions.  The laser actually stops the gums from bleeding and the dental laser procedure never requires stitches in the gums!

In the second photo you can see Brandi’s teeth and gums immediately after the laser gum reshaping.  The dental gum laser temporarily leaves the surface of the gums a little rough.  It is usually just a couple days until the gum surface heals and becomes smooth again, as shown in the third photo one week after the laser gum procedure when it was almost completely healed.  Two weeks later Brandi came back into our office another dental procedure and we took a final photo of the completely healed gums (bottom photo).  Brandi was delighted with the results.  She no longer had a huge excess of gum tissue or short little stub teeth that looked like baby teeth!

Sadly, laser gum reshaping is one of the most under prescribed cosmetic dental procedures.  I can only speculate why.  Most likely because very few dentists actually have been trained and certified using the dental gum laser or have been trained in advanced cosmetic dentistry and smile design.  With the cost of dental gum lasers coming down, more training programs being offered in cosmetic dentistry and more cosmetic awareness of dental consumers, I anticipate this procedure becoming offered and utilized much more to patients who have gummy smiles and can benefit from laser gum reshaping.

As a footnote, there are occasions where excess gums are not the problem and instead is actually an excess of bone around the roots of the teeth.  In those cases laser gum reshaping may only give a slight to moderate improvement.  If a patient requires more than be accomplished with the dental gum laser then a different procedure called dental crown lengthening can be done by a periodontist (dental gum specialist).  However, dental crown lengthening is a minor surgical procedure and considerably more involved than the much less invasive laser gum reshaping.  To determine which of these procedures would best correct the gummy smile problem a cosmetic dentist or periodontist will take some measurements around the gums, which can be done in a matter of just a few minutes.  Usually x-rays are also required.  In our cosmetic dental practice, over 90% of the time laser gum reshaping has been the procedure we have recommended, not the surgical dental crown lengthening.

Complimentary cosmetic dentistry consultation

For patients who have a gummy smile, or just uneven gums, and are interested in learning if they are a candidate for laser gum reshaping we offer a no charge initial cosmetic dentistry consultation.  Call Pam or Sue at our office if you wish to schedule this appointment with us.  949-4956322

Dr. Norman Huefner
Laguna Niguel cosmetic dentist


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