When seeking a more beautiful smile, most people focus on the whiteness of their teeth and the evenness of their bite. However, fixed crooked and stained teeth can only go so far when part of the problem lies in your gum line. An uneven gum line makes teeth look too small, too big, or uneven when it’s perfectly straight and level. It can be hard for a patient to tell if the issue lies with the tooth or the gum when the problem is minor but noticeable. Find out what causes uneven gum lines and what your dentist can do to beautify them.
What Causes an Uneven Gum Line?
Unevenness in the gum line is caused by either too much or too little tissue. This can stick with you from birth or develop later. Causes of extra gum tissue include:
- Inflammation due to plaque and food stuck under the gum, usually due to poor brushing and flossing habits
- Medication side effects
- Secondary health conditions like diabetes and leukemia
Receding gum lines are caused by:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Gum disease
- Some medications
A dentist can address both problems with the same basic contouring procedure. The result is a winning smile that looks natural and healthy.
Is Recontouring Necessary?
First, any underlying cause requires treatment. Adjusting your brushing habits and treating underlying periodontal disease is essential or your gums will go back to looking the same in the years after the procedure. While it is necessary to treat causes of gum recession and overgrowth that threaten your overall oral health, most recontouring itself is strictly cosmetic. Treatments to cover exposed tooth roots cross the line from optional into mandatory because it prevents serious infections in the root pockets.
How Can I Get The Right Gum Line Again?
Extra gum tissue is fairly easy to trim away to expose more of the tooth. Each tooth receives custom shaping as the gum line is pushed up so that the results look natural. Instead of creating a straight line across the front of your smile, the new gum line dips and rises depending on the usual placement of the tooth.
When recession causes your teeth to look too large for your mouth, the opposite process is used to cover the edges. Small pieces of gum tissue are taken from less visible parts of the mouth and grafted on to create a lower gum line. If there’s less underlying tissue and bone to support the graft, a support is made from a little mouth roof material first. The gum tissue already in place can be stretched down and over the support instead of being replaced with a gum graft. As they heal and bond with the base tissue, the dentist gently shapes the curved edges so the new line looks as natural as possible.
How Long Is The Recovery?
Don’t avoid this kind of dental treatment because you’re worried about recovery. Your gums will feel a little sore for about a week or two after the surgery, but the pain is easily managed with over the counter medication. You’ll need to stick to soft foods for two to three days until the gum tissue heals enough to handle being pushed and poked by crunchy and sharp foods. Your dentist may tell you to avoid brushing for that period too, or give you an alternative methods for cleaning your teeth that won’t interfere with the graft. Once your dentist inspects the work and gives you the thumbs up to resume your normal diet, stick with a strict brushing routine so that plaque and bacteria don’t undo all the hard work.