Cosmetic Gum Surgery
As cosmetic surgery has become more mainstream, patients are seeking surgical options that will help them achieve their physical and aesthetic goals. Dentistry is no exception to this trend. Many people who are unhappy with their gums and the way their gums affect their smile, may choose to have cosmetic gum surgery to improve their appearance.
There are several different cosmetic gum surgeries available to help patients achieve the smile they desire.
A gingival lift, also known as a gum lift or gum contouring, is a cosmetic dental procedure designed to reduce and reshape highly visible gums. For patients who have always been bothered by having a gummy smile, this treatment can correct the problem and offer an aesthetic improvement.
Gum grafting is a surgical procedure that helps protect the tooth roots and improve the appearance of the smile for patients who are self-conscious about receded gums caused by gingivitis. The gums help protect the mouth from bacteria and trauma while also covering the ends of the teeth for a pleasing smile. Gum recession is therefore both a cosmetic and a medical concern.
Soft Tissue Augmentation
Soft tissue augmentation is a method of treating gum recession. Gum recession is a process in which the tissue surrounding the teeth pulls away, eventually causing damage to the supporting bone. When gum recession is mild, it can often be treated by a deep cleaning, called tooth scaling and root planing, of the affected area. When such treatment is not sufficient, however, deep gum surgery involving soft tissue augmentation may be necessary.
Patients considering cosmetic gum surgery should speak with their dentist to see which procedure is the best option for their individual condition.
Advantages of Allograft Material
Soft tissue augmentation has many advantages over previously used techniques. Dental Allograft is an acellular dermal matrix material that provides a strong scaffold on which the body can build new healthy tissue. Benefits of using Allograft include:
- No invasive harvesting of patient tissue
- Availability of banked tissue
- Likelihood of rapid tissue growth
- Likelihood of rapid revascularization
- Reduced patient discomfort
- Predictable aesthetic results
Allograft material provides soft tissue augmentation that allows for repair of gingival (gum) tissue in an efficient and effective manner.
Soft tissue augmentation is performed outpatient, although frequently the patient is sedated and must therefore make arrangements for transportation home. There are certain postoperative restrictions during healing, a process which may take as much as a week or two. These may include:
- Limiting the diet to soft, cool foods
- Limiting physical activities
- Altering other medication regimens
- Not brushing or flossing the affected area
- Rinsing with a special mouth wash to control plaque
- Taking a prescribed antibiotic to reduce infection risk
Since patients whose periodontists have used allograft material have not had tissue removed from their palates, they usually experience very little discomfort. Any discomfort can easily be treated with over-the-counter analgesic medication. Patients are normally able to return to normal activities the day after the procedure.
Although soft tissue augmentation is considered a very safe procedure, as with all medical procedures, there is a possibility of complications. In this case, complications may include:
- Excessive bleeding, bruising or swelling
- Loosening sutures
- Tooth movement
While rare, it is also possible that the repair will heal unevenly and that a gingivoplasty will be necessary to remove extra gum tissue.