When we talk about a healthy smile, there’s more to factor in than just the whiteness and straightness of your teeth. The gum to tooth ratio can also have a significant impact on the quality of your smile, but there are a number of issues that can cause your gums to recede. While these issues are largely cosmetic, they can also have an impact on your health. Receding gums can expose the root of your teeth, putting you at more risk for decay and damage. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering gum contouring surgery.

The Root Cause of Uneven Gums

An uneven gum line can either be the result of overgrown or underdeveloped gums. The former is generally caused by genetics, specific health problems, or certain prescription drugs. The latter is most usually the result of poor dental hygiene and may indicate the presence of periodontal disease. If you’re suffering from periodontal disease, you’re also likely to experience bleeding from the gum line, soreness, and inflammation.

When Gum Contouring Is Necessary

In most instances, gum contouring is a purely cosmetic procedure designed to provide you with a cleaner and more even smile. However, more advanced contouring procedures may be required when you’re dealing with serious gum recession and the roots of your teeth are exposed. These recessions cause pockets to form between your gums and teeth, and these pockets run a much greater risk for the development of harmful bacteria that can lead to decay, disease, and eventual tooth loss. If you’re in need of medical contouring to counter these effects, the main purpose of the surgery is to seal these spaces between the teeth and gums.

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How Gum Contouring Works

Whether you’re getting your gums contoured for health or cosmetic reasons, the general principles are the same. Your dentist or periodontist will start by giving you a mild anesthetic to numb feeling in your gums. A soft tissue laser is then used to remove excess gum tissue in your mouth. Using this same laser, your doctor will then carefully reshape your existing gum line and seal the pockets between your teeth to leave them protected against bacteria and bleeding. Contouring may take place over multiple sessions.

The Cost of Gum Contouring

Since gum contouring is usually a cosmetic procedure, it’s not usually covered by dental insurance. The reshaping process can also vary significantly depending on how much work you may need done. Generally, this cost can range from between $600 and $2000 per tooth. If you need gum contouring as a result of periodontal disease, you have better chance of having a portion covered by your insurance.

Ultimately, gum contouring is an issue you’ll want to discuss with your dentist. A provider like The Smile Architects can examine your mouth closely and decide on the right course of action for you.