Gum contouring involves the removal of any excess gum tissue covering a tooth or teeth. Excess gum tissue or black gums can be due to a variety of medical and dental conditions, and can even be caused by some commonly prescribed medications. This can make your teeth seem smaller and cause a “gummy smile”.
Gum Contouring Procedure
The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic (an injection in the mouth to numb the area being treated – just like before fillings) and does not usually take more than half an hour. Either a scalpel or laser is used to remove excess tissue and reshape the gum. For a few days after the procedure, you may experience some discomfort and your dentist will provide you with specific instructions regarding cleaning the area, as well as how to minimise/alleviate any discomfort.
Benefits of Gum Contouring Treatment
Excess gum tissue can make your teeth appear smaller and cause a gummy smile, while black gums can make your smile feel less aesthetically pleasing. Gum contouring is a simple and effective way to improve your smile.
Common Risks of the Treatment
The aesthetic results of gum contouring can be unpredictable and variable. It is highly dependent upon good pre-operative assessment and planning as well as excellent operator skill.
The risk of the excess gum tissue growing back or dark pigmentation (black gums) returning – can be very high, especially if the overgrowth or discolouration is due to long term medication. Your specific risk of relapse should be discussed at the assessment stage.
Longer Healing Times
In some cases, bone is also removed during the contouring process (this is known as crown lengthening). In these cases, and also when larger amounts of gum tissue have been removed, healing and recovery may take a little longer than average.
The root of your tooth can become exposed once your gums have healed after the treatment. This can cause ongoing sensitivity which responds unpredictably to treatment.
How long will gum contouring last?
The effects of gum contouring can be permanent, especially if bone was removed at the same time. However, the risk of the overgrowth or pigmentation returning can be very high depending on its cause.
What to ask before agreeing to have Gum Contouring
Your dentist should advise you of alternative treatment options and the advantages/disadvantages of each so that you are able to make an informed decision before agreeing to undergo gum contouring.
You should make sure that your dentist has advised you of the proposed complexity and the exact costs involved.
They should also advise you whether they expect the results to be permanent.
Dentist’s Skill and Experience
The aesthetic outcome can be highly dependent on operator skill, so it is important you check that your dentist has the appropriate skill and experience to carry out gum contouring.
Your Suitability for Gum Contouring
In cases where the overgrowth or pigmentation is due to your medication, your dentist should consult with your medical doctor for advice on whether gum contouring is right for you and your risk of the overgrowth returning after treatment.
Is gum contouring suitable for me?
Your suitability for gum contouring can only be decided after your dentist has assessed multiple factors including;
The cause and extent of the excess gum tissue or black gums
The condition of your overall medical and dental health
Gum contouring is a great option for those with a small amount of gum overgrowth or pigmentation and an otherwise healthy mouth.
What can I claim for if something goes wrong with my gum contouring?
If you have undergone a gum contouring procedure but did not get the desired outcome as a result of your treatment, you may have become a victim of dental negligence. There are a variety of complications that can come about as a result of malpractice such as:
Patient did not give consent before the treatment was carried out
Poor execution of the treatment when bone is removed
Unnecessary removal of gum tissue
Persistent pain following the gum contouring procedure as a result of infection.
Contact the Dental Law Partnership
Not everything goes to plan when receiving a cosmetic dental treatment such as gum contouring. You must ensure the dentist is highly skilled in this area to maximise the chances that you get the results you expect, yet in some cases, if things don’t go to plan, your dental professional may have been negligent.
At the Dental Law Partnership, we will be able to examine the work that was carried out by your dentist and offer expert advice about how to move forward with a compensation claim, if appropriate.
For examples of some of our most successful cases, view our existing case studies, or call us today on 0800 0853 823.