What To Expect From Gum Contouring

Teeth whitening and veneers are common cosmetic dentistry procedures that most people have heard of, but they don't do anything to address the appearance of your gums. If you're looking into cosmetic procedures and have excess gum tissue that shows when you smile or if your gum line is uneven, gum contouring can help give you a more traditionally attractive smile.  

The Procedure

In some cases, dentists can sculpt gum tissue with a laser during a quick office visit of about an hour. Patients receive a local anesthetic prior to this type of gum contouring, and there is no bleeding or need for stitches due to the laser sealing the tissue.

Sometimes cosmetic dentists need to use scalpels or radiosurgery to give patients the best outcome from their gum-contouring procedures, however. While this type of procedure is more involved, it's the best option for patients at risk of having the gums grow back in the future. Your dentist may need to remove some bone at the roots of your teeth. These more-involved procedures do require stitches.  


Most gum-contouring patients have a very fast and easy recovery. You may experience some minor swelling and discomfort immediately following the procedure once the local anaesthetic has worn off. The pain is typically very minimal, so over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, should be sufficient to minimize any pain you feel for the first couple of days.

Your gums will be more sensitive than usual for about a week following your visit, so it's important to brush and floss carefully and more gently than you normally would. Some dentists advise their patients to eat only soft foods and avoid anything highly acidic or spicy to prevent gum irritation for a couple of days following surgery.

You shouldn't have any bleeding following gum contouring, so it's important to contact your dentist as soon as possible if you notice any blood. You may get a prescription antibiotic or mouth rinse to use after your surgery to reduce the risk of infection. Use any prescriptions exactly as directed.


Gum contouring is a very safe procedure. Most patients don't experience any adverse effects if they follow their dentists' instructions following treatment. The biggest risk is that your gum tissue will grow back over the crowns of your teeth. This is more likely to happen if your dentist uses only a laser to sculpt your gums. In very rare cases, patients can have an adverse reaction to the anesthetic used during the procedure, so it's important to let your dentist know about any pre-existing health concerns, medications you're taking, and any history of an adverse reaction to any type of anaesthesia.

For more information, contact a dentist's office like Kemper Pond Dental.