Planning and Preparing for Dental Procedures: Your Questions Answered

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Planning and Preparing for Dental Procedures: Your Questions Answered

Making decisions about your smile can be confusing. Should you have a tooth pulled or get a root canal? Should you get adult braces or stick with a retainer? Should you use at-home whitening remedies or have your teeth professionally whitened? If questions like these are keeping you up at night, you've come to the right place. I used to stress out over routine dental procedures, and as a result, I did loads of research on everything dental-related. To help others, I'm using this blog as a place to collect, review and share what I've learned through the years. I hope you can use the information here to help you plan and prepare for your next dental appointment.

Shape your smile: the pros and cons of gum contouring

Gum contouring is a simple cosmetic procedure in which uneven or excessive gums are reshaped to produce a more attractive smile. The procedure is simple and safe, but is it for you?

The procedure

Gum contouring, also known as gingival sculpting, is for people who have a "gummy smile" - a gum line that either carries on too far up the teeth or which forms a crooked line across the mouth, spoiling the appearance of the smile. It is carried out by a dentist with the aid of a laser. This is used to trim away the excess gum and reshape it to suit the patient. As the laser seals up the gum at the same time as it strips it away, it does not require stitches or long healing times.

The pros

First, gum contouring is a very quick procedure. It can usually be done in a single appointment and does not need a lengthy healing time.

Secondly, the procedure is relatively painless. In the past, gum contouring could only be done with a scalpel, but the advent of laser surgery means that pain is kept to a minimum, and your dentist may use a local anaesthetic anyway.

Thirdly, the results are permanent. There is no need for regular returns to the dentist to have the treatment updated or done again; your new gums will be part of your smile for the rest of your life.

And lastly, it is effective. If your gums are covering too much of your teeth, they can be set right.

The cons

There are only a few disadvantages with gum contouring. Firstly, although the treatment is pain-free, you may experience soreness and tenderness afterwards. This will not last for long, however, and can be managed with painkillers and perhaps a mouthwash.

Secondly, this is a purely cosmetic procedure. Although your dentist can use the method to remove hollows that could harbour bacteria, it is not a cure for gum disease, which is best prevented with a good daily oral hygiene regime.

And of course, the treatment will cost money, and as it is a cosmetic procedure, your insurance is unlikely to cover it.

Nonetheless, cosmetic dentistry is a safe and reliable way of improving your smile. If you're sick of showing your gums rather than your teeth when you open your mouth, gum contouring could well be the solution to your problem.