Gum Reshaping and Tissue Sculpting

If you have a low gum line or a smile with an uneven gum line, it can make your teeth look small and unbalanced. A cosmetic procedure known as gum reshaping or tissue sculpting can even out your gum line and give you a healthier looking smile.


It is a simple in-office procedure that requires numbing and can take one or two hours. Patients will experience soreness and swelling afterward, but this can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and a soft diet for a few days.

The Scalpel Method

Gum tissue reshaping is an excellent cosmetic dental procedure that can correct an uneven gum line. It also helps make your teeth look longer and more symmetrical. It is ideal for those who are self-conscious of having a “gummy smile.”

This condition can be caused by a number of things, including gum disease, over brushing, certain prescription drugs, and genetics. A gummy smile can be distracting and may cause others to avoid you. It can even be a sign of poor oral health, since your gums may have to work harder to protect the tooth roots.

Traditionally, dentists would use a scalpel to remove excess gum tissue and expose more of the tooth surface. This was a quite invasive procedure, which led to a long recovery period and had a higher risk of complications.

Today, gum contouring is done using a soft tissue laser that eliminates the need for stitches, blood, and scalpels. It is less invasive and generally painless, but the recovery period is a bit longer than it would be with a scalpel.

After a gum reshaping procedure, it is advisable to stick to a soft food diet for a few days. Yogurt, ice cream, and pudding are excellent choices. You can also take over-the-counter medication to manage discomfort and inflammation. Make sure to schedule a follow-up visit, and your dentist will let you know when it is safe to return to your normal dietary habits.

The Laser Method

The laser method is a much less invasive treatment option for patients who have excess gum tissue. In this procedure, your dentist uses a handheld laser to remove the excess tissue and sculpt a new gum line that is more uniform and balanced. The laser cauterizes as it cuts, minimizing bleeding and promoting faster healing.

When performing this procedure, your dentist will first administer local anesthesia to numb the gums. They may also offer sedation dentistry options if you are concerned about pain or discomfort. Once the area is numb, they will use a pen to mark where they intend to trim the gum tissue. They will then use the laser to trim and sculpt the gums, exposing more of the tooth surface for a more attractive smile.

The laser used during gum contouring is very precise, allowing the dentist to target only the excess tissue and avoid damage to surrounding tissues. The laser also creates a numbing effect on the tissue and seals off blood vessels, which reduces discomfort during the procedure. Following the procedure, patients can expect mild discomfort and sensitivity that can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. They should follow post-treatment recommendations for a healthy recovery, including a soft food diet and proper oral hygiene practices. While gummy smiles and uneven gum lines aren’t usually oral health concerns, they do negatively affect the appearance of your smile. By reshaping the gum line, you can improve your smile’s aesthetic and resolve cosmetic issues like exposed tooth roots.

The Recovery Period

Gum contouring is an in-office procedure that can usually be performed within a single visit. A local anesthetic is applied to numb the area, making it virtually painless. The dentist can use either a scalpel or a laser to remove excess tissue and reshape the gum line. If a scalpel is used the tissue might bleed, but the laser cauterizes and seals the tissue, which minimizes bleeding.

Depending on the extent of the reshaping, some discomfort may be experienced. Most patients report that the discomfort is mild and brief. Those who are particularly sensitive can take an aspirin-free pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Ice packs are also a good way to reduce swelling and discomfort.

While the healing process is relatively quick, it is important to be gentle with your teeth and gums. A soft diet is recommended for a week or two, as it gives the gums time to heal properly. It is also essential to refrain from strenuous activity for the first few days, as exercise can increase blood flow and result in scabbing and inflammation.

Those who are concerned about periodontal disease can also consider having porcelain veneers placed on their teeth. These thin, sturdy shells of ceramic material cover the outer surface of your teeth and act as a barrier to train your gums into staying in place. They can also be expertly shaped and colored to improve your smile’s overall appearance.

The Cost

Many patients feel self-conscious about the way their gums look, especially if their smile is overly “gummy” or their teeth appear small because of thick, uneven gum tissue. A common and effective solution to this issue is a cosmetic procedure called gum contouring, which can be performed in-office for a relatively affordable price. The treatment is essentially a minor surgical procedure that involves removing and trimming excess gum tissue around one or more teeth. This allows more of the natural tooth to be exposed, creating a brighter smile and giving patients buckets of confidence in their appearance.

Another benefit of the procedure is that it can be performed without impacting the health or strength of any of the teeth. In fact, it may be recommended as an introductory procedure before a more extensive cosmetic dental treatment such as crown lengthening or pocket reduction surgery. This is because excess gum tissue can trap food and bacteria, making teeth more susceptible to decay and other oral health issues.

Whether it’s done with scalpels or lasers, the procedure is usually painless and only takes one office visit to complete. Patients may experience a little soreness and swelling, but this can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil. Proper oral care is also a must to help ensure a speedy recovery and optimal results.