August 15, 2018

Gum Shape

perfect gums

Perfect gums-healthy, beautiful, pink, even and symmetrical.

When you think about a great smile you always think about the teeth, right?  And teeth are the main characters in the smile and overshadow the role of the gums when they aren’t visible or when they are, but are even, symmetrical and healthy looking (i.e. not red or swollen).

However, when the gums are clearly visible in the smile, and there are some problems with their appearance, the potential beauty of the teeth and smile can be ruined. Most experienced cosmetic dentists can treat and solve many of these esthetic problems, but sadly gum issues effecting the smile are the most neglected aspect of the smile design.

unhealthy gums

Unhealthy and unsightly gums which greatly detract from this patient's smile.

Here are a number of ways that gums can ruin the esthetics of the smile:

  1. Uneven gums, especially on the front two teeth (central incisors)
  2. Generalized or localized excess of gums covering teeth
  3. Asymmetrical gums (i.e more gums displayed covering the teeth on one side compared to the other)
  4. Marked recession, whereby the gums on one or more teeth expose much more tooth than adjacent teeth, giving the appearance that teeth are really long and disproportionate
  5. Swollen or red gums
  6. Fibrous, overgrown gums
dental gum laser treatment

The uneven gums, especially on the front two teeth, were corrected with the dental gum laser prior to placing porcelain veneers.

What are some of the characteristics of the gums in an ideal smile:

  1. The front six teeth having gums at the same level, with possibly a little more gums on the two lateral incisors (the teeth next to the front two teeth)
  2. From the canine on back each tooth having progressively more gums and less tooth showing, and the gum levels falling all on a line
  3. In a full smile only showing 1-2mm of gums above the front teeth

If there are excess gums, it can oftentimes be treated with a conservative and easily done procedure called laser gum recontouring.  Most cosmetic dentists do this procedure for their patients.  Sometimes if there is excessive bone under the gums covering the teeth another procedure called crown lengthening is the treatment of choice, and this dental procedure is usually done by a periodontist (gum specialist).

gum recession apparent prior to cosmetic dentistry

Sara had marked gum recession that she wanted corrected prior to replacing her old dentistry with new, modern cosmetic dentistry. She had the choice of going to a periodontist to have gum tissue grafted over the exposed roots or covering the roots with the new dentistry. She chose the latter.

If there is marked recession, making the tooth or teeth appear abnormally long another procedure called gum grafting is often the treatment of choice to optimize the esthetics.  This procedure is also done by a periodontist.

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry and Porcelain Veneers. Serving the surrounding cities of Laguna Niguel, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita
laser gum recontouring prior to porcelain veneers

Josie had excessive gums around her front teeth and wanted a new smile with porcelain veneers. We recontoured her gums with the dental gum laser and the results combined with the porcelain veneers to create a beautiful smile for her.

fibrous gum excess treated with laser gum recontouring and porcelain veneers

Connie had fibrous excess of gums around her front teeth. She was treated by reshaping with the dental gum laser and then porcelain veneers were placed.

front two teeth with an unattractive excess of gum tissue

Conrad had an excess of gum tissue around his teeth, making them appear shorter than normal. After removing the excess, and reshaping with the dental gum laser and then placing porcelain veneers this patient achieved the great looking smile he wanted.

gum recontouring around single tooth

John had gum excess around his lateral incisor. The bottom photo shows the results immediately after the dental gum laser was used.

laser gum reshaping around front two teeth

Lauren had too much gums around her front two teeth, making them appear too short. Note black line where she wanted her teeth to show at. The dental gum laser was used to correct the excess gums prior to placing porcelain veneers.

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