Gingivoplasty • Gum Contouring
Gingivoplasty is a cosmetic dental procedure that involves the surgical reshaping and recontouring of the gum tissue around teeth.
Gingivoplasty is usually performed in combination with a gingivectomy for aesthetic reasons or as part of a periodontitis treatment. During a gingivectomy the dentist surgically removes the excessive overgrowth of gum tissue around teeth.
Overgrowth of gum tissue may cause a cosmetically unappealing condition known as ‘gummy smile’. A larger part of the tooth is covered by the gums resulting in teeth that look smaller and unnatural.
Gingivectomy - Crown lengthening
The first part of a gingivoplasty procedure is a gingivectomy (the surgical removal of excess gum tissue). The process is also known as crown lengthening. Crown lengthening can help teeth to get a more natural appearance. It is usually performed by a periodontist.
The gingivectomy is performed after numbing the gums with a local anesthetic. The excessive gum tissue is surgically removed with the use of scalpels and special instruments with angled blades, electrosurgery or laser surgery.
Gingivectomy - Crown lengthening
After the gingivectomy the remaining gum tissue looks thick and is unnaturally shaped around the tooth. Natural gum tissue thins as it approaches and surrounds teeth.
Gingivoplasty is the shaping procedure that follows the removal of excessive gum tissue and thins the remaining gums tissue so that they fit and look natural around the tooth. The gums are numbed before starting the procedure. Gingivoplasty was usually performed with sharp periodontal knives in a scraping motion on the surface of the gum or with a coarse diamond rotary bur abrading the surface of the gingiva. Most of the modern dental offices use today a soft tissue laser for performing the gingivoplasty procedure.
During the procedure the dentist adjusts the shape of the edge of the gums to achieve natural contours (usually an external bevel of forty-five degrees relative to the tooth surface). After the procedure a periodontal dressing is placed around the tooth covering the gums to protect them until full healing.
Normally the gums will be completely healed within one to two months after the gingivoplasty procedure, depending on the extend of the gum surgery. The dentist may prescribe pain medication and an antibacterial mouthwash (usually containing chlorhexidine) to ease any pain and prevent possible infections during the healing period.
Some bleeding may occur initially but usually stops within 24 hours. The periodontal dressing is placed by the dentist over the gums to protect the soft gum tissue and make the patient feel more comfortable. Eating a soft diet is recommended to prevent gum irritation and avoid removing the periodontal dressing from the wound.
A thorough dental cleaning or dental scaling and root planing, if needed, is recommended prior to the gingivectomy in order to remove tartar (calculus) from the teeth surface. Calculus free teeth help in fast recovery and healing after the surgical procedure.
Gingivectomy / Gingivoplasty cost
Both procedures can be considered as periodontal plastic surgery, therefore the treatment cost is significant. The gingivectomy and gingivoplasty cost may range around $190 - $300 per tooth. Unfortunately gum problems usually affect more or all teeth so it is more common for dentists to charge by quadrant or for full mouth treatments. In this case you should expect the cost of gingivectomy and gingivoplasty around $500 - $850 per quadrant, or $2,000 - $4,000 for the whole mouth.
If you want to improve your smile’s appearance you should first visit a cosmetic dentist for consultation. Cosmetic dentists have the expertise to analyze your cosmetic needs, and propose a complete plan of cosmetic dental procedures that will best fit your expectations and finances.