Gum lifts, a procedure used in the past to treat gum disease, has in recent years become a more commonly used procedure in the cosmetic dentistry field as a treatment used to create the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth.

The procedure is also known as crown lengthening and requires the raising, sculpting and reshaping of the gumline. This can entail reshaping the tissue as well as the underlying bones.

Who needs a gum lift?

Besides the aesthetic appeal, gum lifts can also be a prescribed treatment for someone who has a ‘gummy smile’, where the teeth to gum ratio is disproportionate, or for someone who has an uneven gum line. Patients who have suffered from receding gum lines due to disease may also be candidates for a gum lift to restore their gum line. Other typical patients can be individuals who are born with thin lips, which can contribute to the idea of having a gummy smile. Individuals with bruxism, the habit of grinding one’s teeth, can also develop a gummy smile as their teeth are worn down from the grinding.

However, patients who are interested in receiving a gum lift must have healthy teeth and roots that are able to be further exposed without harming the function and structure of the tooth.

What it entails:

A consultation visit normally takes place before the procedure so the dentist is clear on the patient’s wants and is able to show them where their new gum line will be. The procedure is normally completed in one visit and begins with the numbing of the tissue before it is trimmed and reshaped with a laser or dentistry tools. If necessary, the gum tissue can be separated from the bone, and the bone can be shaved down before stitching the gums back in to the new position.

Patients are given medication for the discomfort and swelling but are able to return to work the next day. It is recommend not to eat or drink anything that will irritate the gums, such as spicy or sticky food. Patient should not neglect their daily dental care during this time and should gently brush and floss their teeth, as well as use antibacterial mouthwash.

What to consider:

Before asking for a gum lift, speak to your dentist about any concerns you may have about the procedure. Fully understand what is expected of you before and after the gum lift. Make sure your dentist knows of any allergies to medications you may be prescribed as part of the treatment. If you normally bleed heavily during dental surgeries, speak to your dentist about how they can minimise the bleeding and swelling during the procedure.

As it is a cosmetic surgery, your insurance provider may not cover the cost. Submit a claim to your provider prior to agreeing to the procedure, if you rely on insurance funding. However, some practices do offer payment plans for different dental procedures. Ask your dentist if a plan is available for your gum lift.