All About Gum Contouring

Most of our patients here at Texas Family Orthodontics think about tooth and jaw straightening and correction when it comes to orthodontic treatment. 

And that makes sense! That’s a big part of it! But did you know that another significant aspect of your orthodontic and dental health and treatment comes down to your gums? It’s true!

In some circumstances, Dr. Vo may recommend a procedure known as gum contouring. 

That’s why we asked her to sit down with us and review the ins and outs of the process. What is it? How does it affect my smile? How do we get started? 

We’ll answer all these questions and more below, so keep reading! 


Gum Contouring – What Is It?

Let’s get started with the basics – what exactly is gum contouring? Simply put, it’s all about finding the right balance between the amount of gum and tooth exposed when you smile. That means that this is an aspect of cosmetic dentistry, and it’s all about giving you the most stunning smile possible. 

Also known as gum reshaping or, more fancily, esthetic gingival recontouring, this is one of the go-to options for treating the infamous “gummy smile” you may or may not be familiar with. 


A Gummy Smile? What’s That?

As the name suggests, a gummy smile is a common name for a smile in which a significant portion of the gum tissue is exposed when a patient smiles. While no “hard numbers” exist on what does and does not constitute a gummy smile, experts agree that the magic number is anywhere from three to four millimeters of the exposed gum line. 

Following that thread, an estimated 14% of women, and 7% of men, have what could be considered a gummy smile. So don’t worry; you’re not alone! 

did you know that another significant aspect of your orthodontic and dental health and treatment comes down to your gums? It’s true! In some circumstances, Dr. Vo may recommend a procedure known as gum contouring.

What Causes A Gummy Smile? 

There are a few different reasons why a patient might have what’s considered to be a gummy smile. One is simply genetic – that’s the smile they were born with. Again, millions of people have one, so it’s certainly nothing to be worried or ashamed about.

Another reason may be excessive loss of tooth enamel, causing a shortening of the teeth and leading to a disruption in the tooth-to-gum ratio. As teeth wear down, they become shorter and slowly move towards each other to keep in contact with the opposite tooth. This movement helps maintain a proper bite despite the shorter teeth. However, as the teeth move, the gums attached to them also shift, causing more gum tissue to be visible when smiling. This can result in a gummy smile or a smile with uneven gum levels.

A few other reasons for a gummy smile include a hyperactive upper lip, in which the muscles of the lip overact, revealing more gum tissue than normal, and “vertical maxillary excess,” which is when the upper jaw grows down too much in a vertical direction, resulting in more gums showing.


How Can Gum Contouring Help? 

Now that you’ve learned a little about the what and the why let’s talk about the how. As in, how can gum contouring work with orthodontic treatment to fix your smile? 

No matter how you go about it, the procedure will involve reshaping the gum line to create a more balanced and proportionate appearance. It can be performed using various techniques, such as gum tissue removal, gum tissue grafting, or laser-assisted procedures. The specific technique used will come down to your unique needs, priorities, and the underlying cause or causes of the gummy smile.

By carefully sculpting the gum tissue, Dr. Vo can create a more harmonious balance between the gums and the teeth, exposing an optimal amount of tooth structure. This will result in leaving you with a more aesthetically pleasing smile where the gums frame the teeth appropriately. As a specialist in the field of orthodontics, Dr. Vo is all about crafting the smile of your dreams, no matter your starting point! 


So, What’s the Connection To Orthodontics? 

Great question! Oftentimes, gum contouring will be performed in conjunction with orthodontic care to achieve the best possible result for you and your smile. 

During orthodontic treatment, the repositioning of teeth can sometimes affect the gum line. For example, if a patient has a gummy smile due to excessive gum tissue, orthodontic treatment may help by moving the teeth into their proper positions. In some cases, this movement alone may alleviate the appearance of a gummy smile, eliminating the need for additional gingival recontouring.

On the other hand, there are instances where orthodontic treatment alone may not fully address the esthetic concerns related to the gum line. In such cases, gingival recontouring can play a valuable role. By reshaping the gum tissue, Dr. Vo can create a more aesthetically pleasing frame for your teeth. This can complement the outcomes of orthodontic treatment by ensuring that not only are the teeth aligned correctly, but the gum line is also in harmony with the newly positioned teeth.

To illustrate the relationship between gum contouring and ortho treatment, consider the case of a patient with crooked and misaligned teeth, as well as a gummy smile. In such a scenario, the patient may undergo orthodontic treatment to straighten and align the teeth properly. Once the teeth are in their desired positions, if a gummy smile is still evident, the patient may then undergo esthetic gingival recontouring to reshape the gum line and achieve a more balanced and pleasing smile.

The combined use of gum contouring and orthodontic treatment allows for a comprehensive approach to smile enhancement. By addressing both the alignment of the teeth and the appearance of the gums, patients can achieve optimal esthetic outcomes and improve their self-confidence in showcasing a beautiful smile.

did you know that another significant aspect of your orthodontic and dental health and treatment comes down to your gums? It’s true! In some circumstances, Dr. Vo may recommend a procedure known as gum contouring.

Call Us Today To Supercharge Your Smile! 

Now that you’ve learned all about gum contouring, it’s time to find out if that is one of the treatment options that may benefit your smile with your amazing Texas Family Orthodontics team. 

Family is right in the name for a reason – that’s what we value. And when you’re our patient, that means you’re our family, too, so what are you waiting for? You can call us at our San Antonio or Windcrest offices at (210) 256-9767 or just fill out this form, and before you know it, you’ll be putting your best smile forward! We can’t wait to see you!