Gum Reshaping & Recontouring
Patients smile at getting long in the tooth
Those whose smiles are more Mister Ed than Miss America have a new hope:
the gum lift.
Dentists are raising or whittling away at tissue and/or bone to lengthen
teeth and beautify gummy or horsy grins. Also called crown-lengthening,
the procedure has been around for decades to treat gum disease; it's
only in the past three to five years that dentists have added it to their
The number of gum lifts has increased as the sophistication of a patient's
discriminating eye has increased. Now people want it all perfect, a smile
that's straight, bright and white with a minimum of pink. It's
no wonder then that the vast majority (80%-90%) of gum lifts are done
in conjunction with porcelain veneers.
By evening up the gum line, everything looks so much more in harmony, so
much more pleasing. The charge is about $300 for one tooth up to $6000
for a full arch (up to 16 teeth). You can whiten and brighten and straighten
your teeth, but if your gum line is up and down, it's almost like
wasting your money because you still don't have the result that you
want. This is a one- or two-Advil treatment. Recovery ranges from a few
days to a few weeks, depending on how invasive the surgery is; tissue
can be lasered away, but a scalpel and/or drill is needed to extract bone.
Some aren't candidates for crown-lengthening. If you have big teeth,
then your teeth will look even bigger. Also, those whose roots are skinny,
tapered or short could, through too much root exposure, compromise the
strength of their teeth. But for adults whose gums never completely receded
after childhood, the technique can significantly improve a smile.