The amount of gum tissue we possess, just like how much hair we have on our heads, is merely a matter of personal anatomy - some of us just have more of it than others. If your teen is unhappy with their smile, and consider themselves to have "too much" gum tissue, there is a way to help them feel more comfortable about their smile. The procedure is known as a gingivectomy, and while it might sound scary and complicated, it's a procedure that be can done quickly and painlessly, right in your dentist's office. Let's take a look.
What Is a Gingivectomy?
A gingivectomy, or what is more commonly known as a gum lift, or gum contouring, is the most common and speediest solution for revitalizing a gummy smile. It is the medical term used to describe the surgical removal of gum tissue from the crown of the tooth, and unlike some of the more complicated procedures like lip repositioning and crown lengthening which are not recommended until one reaches adulthood, a gingivectomy can be safely performed on teens.
How Is a Gingivectomy Performed?
The procedure can be done with a scalpel, an electrosurgery unit, a laser or a diamond dental bur, and is often performed in the months following the completion of braces. There is also a certain amount of artistry related to this surgery because your dentist effectively "carves" away excessive gum tissue, and reshapes the landscape of your smile. So, as a result, you'll want to be certain to work with a dentist familiar with the procedure, and one who can demonstrate recent and past successes.
Surgery is done under local anesthetic and takes only a few minutes to an hour to complete depending on the number of teeth to be done. Immediately following the procedure your teen may have some slight bleeding and a bit of discomfort, but this discomfort usually dissipates in a day or so. If your teen experiences prolonged discomfort, an over-the-counter pain medication may be prescribed to ease the pain a bit. And, while individual healing times vary, generally speaking healing should be complete within a few days to a few weeks depending again on the number of surgical incisions made.
Modern dental surgery can really do wonders for our smiles in a multitude of ways. If your teen is concerned about how much gum they are flashing each time they smile, or have stopped smiling all together, have a chat with your dentist. You might be surprised at just how quickly they can get them back to smiling widely again!