Gum Contouring Techniques: Electrocauterizing Tools to Fix a Gummy Smile
What’s keeping you from a beautiful smile? Sometimes the answer is not your teeth, but what’s above them: your gums. Having a “gummy” smile, or a smile where your teeth appear shorter due to elongated gums, can keep you from feeling your best when you flash your smile. Your cosmetic dentist can use a specialized electrocauterizing tool to perform gum-contouring surgery to improve your appearance.
What to Expect in a Gum-Contouring Procedure
A gummy smile is most often the result of genetics. If your mother or father has a gummy smile, you are more likely to experience this condition. Because an “optimal smile” is considered one that shows as little gum tissue as possible, gum contouring aims to reduce the noticeability of your gums when you smile. Gum contouring is, for the most part, considered a cosmetic procedure. Elongated gums are not typically associated with a greater risk for dental problems. However, your dentist may recommend gum contouring in association with treatments for dental issues, such as crown lengthening or pocket reduction.
Gum contouring is performed on an outpatient basis. Your dentist begins by numbing your mouth using a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort during the procedure. Your dentist uses a specialized tool to trim away excess gum tissue along your gumline, revealing more of your pearly whites. Gum contouring is about more than just cutting away gum tissue. Your physician must use artistry to create a natural, scalloped appearance to your gums. For this reason, always ask to see examples of previous gum contouring procedures your dentist has performed. Your dentist also may use tools, such as drawing on your gums or computer imaging software, to help you understand what your gums may look like post-electrocauterization gum countouring.
Electrocauterizing Tools and Gum Contouring
The original gum contouring procedures involved using a scalpel to cut away at gum tissue. Although this approach achieved the desired effect, you also experienced greater bleeding and discomfort as a result of the procedure. To reduce these side effects and post-operative risks, your dentist may use an electrocauterizing tool instead of a scalpel.
An electrocauterizing tool resembles a scalpel, but is powered with electrical current. Using electrical current during surgery is an approach that’s been embraced since the 18th century. However, the modern forefather is considered William T. Bovie, who created a device in the 1920s that combined electrosurgery and cauterization, a process that seals off blood vessels to keep them from bleeding, according to the Journal of the American College of Surgery. Bovie’s work is still used today as many physicians and dentists use a “Bovie” tool that cuts, stops bleeding and seals blood vessels.
Electrocauterization allows your dentist to improve your surgical outcome and shorten recovery time needed by minimizing bleeding. To minimize the risks of using electricity during surgery, your dentist will place a grounding pad on your body for your protection.
Gum Contouring Recovery Tips
While electrocauterization in gum contouring offers many benefits, listen to your dentist’s recommendations for post-surgical recovery. For example, avoid taking aspirin as a pain-reliever because aspirin can thin your blood and make bleeding more likely. Instead, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain and discomfort following gum contouring.
To minimize post-procedure swelling, choose foods that do not require you to bite and chew excessively. Soft and cool foods can soothe the gums while filling your stomach. Examples include eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, gelatin, ice cream and soft vegetables for several days. Spicy foods and seeds have the potential to aggravate your gums and should be avoided.
Notify your physician if you experience any worrisome symptoms, such as gums that do not cease bleeding, swelling that makes speaking and eating uncomfortable and any signs of allergic reaction to anesthetic used, such as itching, trouble breathing or sudden swelling.