Do you need a gum lift? The treatment is also referred to as “crown lengthening” and “gummy smile treatment”, depending on why you need it.
Essentially a gum lift is when we reduce the amount of gingival (gum) tissue surrounding specific teeth, revealing more tooth structure. It can be used for therapeutic purposes or cosmetic reasons.
If you have a gum lift scheduled at our Suffolk County office, here’s what you can plan to expect:
Ensuring Your Comfort During the Procedure
At Sachem Dental Group, our Long Island multi-specialty team is dedicated to ensuring the comfort of every patient. Minimally invasive surgeries such as gum lifts are no exception. Even though these procedures are performed with the latest technology for minimal discomfort, we will still anesthetize all areas to ensure you won’t have to feel a thing.
And if you’re still feeling a bit anxious, you can always request to add dental sedation. Gentle nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can easily be incorporated into any scheduled appointment. It provides fast anxiety relief and lessens your sensitivity to external stimuli. Deeper sedation including twilight sedation and other analgesics is available upon request!
Variations of Gum Lift Procedures
In years past, conventional gum lifts were performed by surgically trimming away diseased or excessive tissues directly around the teeth involved. Once removed, a protective dressing was then applied over the surgical site to ensure proper healing with minimal irritation. That dressing would usually be removed a week or so later.
Today, modern gum lift treatments usually involve a less invasive method that utilizes soft tissue laser technology. With a soft tissue dental laser, tissues can be reshaped without additional bleeding, swelling, or lengthy recovery after the appointment. The mild cauterization performed by the laser itself ensures a speedier healing process without the typical side-effects of surgical gum lifts.
Most laser gum treatments are essentially pain-free and can be completed in a relatively short in-office procedure. There’s no need to refer you to a periodontal specialist or oral surgeon for the treatment. Due to the minimally invasive technology, our providers are able to predictably reshape your gingiva in what feels like everyday, routine dental treatment.
Here’s how it works: Once your gum tissues are completely numb, we use the laser like a handheld pen to retrace the desired shape of your gingiva. There are small flashes of light and sometimes a bit of beeping. As we slowly retrace the new shape from one tooth to the next, the gums naturally lift back to reveal more of your tooth structure. And since no cutting is involved, there’s little to no bleeding or postoperative inflammation. You’ll quickly be on your way to a speedy recovery!
Recovery After a Gum Lift
Laser gum lift treatments require little recovery time after the procedure. Since you won’t have any sutures or dressings to remove, you’ll be able to get back to a normal routine in practically no time at all.
For the first few days, plan to stick to a soft diet. Avoid hard, crunchy, or spicy foods if possible. Softer foods — like what you might want to eat after a dental extraction — is best. Examples include cottage cheese, pudding, yogurt, etc.
Inflammation and swelling are the primary causes of discomfort following oral surgery. Since laser technology minimizes inflammation in tissue, there’s less of a chance of postoperative pain following your appointment. You may want to keep an anti-inflammatory medication (like Motrin or ibuprofen) on hand in case you need it, but it may not be necessary.
A warm salt water rinse is ideal for reducing inflammation and can also be used once you get home. The gentle rinsing will also help to remove any food debris since you will want to avoid brushing your treated gums for at least a couple of days following treatment.
If for any reason you develop redness, swelling, a fever, or other signs of an infection, let our Long Island dentists know immediately.
Why do I Need a Gum Lift?
Gum lift procedures aren’t as common as routine treatments like fillings, periodontal therapy, or dental extractions. But they provide a uniquely important aspect of care for situations involving:
Restorative Needs — Let’s say you have a worn or heavily restored tooth that needs a crown. In the traditional sense, you may not have enough “tooth” to work with. If you were to put a crown over the area that’s visible above the gums, limited support could lead to the crown failing altogether. Instead, we can reduce the height of the gums surrounding your tooth, exposing a large surface. We call this “crown lengthening” and it’s frequently incorporated into restorative procedures like full coverage crowns (to avoid unnecessary tooth extraction.)
Gum Disease Therapy — Periodontal disease causes gum tissues to detach from the surfaces of tooth roots, creating deep “pockets” underneath the gingiva. The deeper the pocket, the more challenging it is to clean. And the deeper it gets, the more bone loss there is. To slow the disease process and prevent tooth loss, we can perform a pocket reduction surgery which is essentially the same thing as a gum lift or crown lengthening. This therapy shortens the depth of the pocket to allow for improved oral hygiene between professional cleanings.
Cosmetic Treatment — Excessive gingiva can make teeth appear short or lopsided. In some cases, gum overgrowth is even caused by hormonal changes or certain medications. By reducing the amount of tissue density in that area, we can complement the overall look of your smile. That way teeth appear symmetrical and healthier.
Gum Lift Consultations (Suffolk County)
Are you considering crown lengthening, a gum lift, or gummy smile therapy? Then we encourage you to visit the multi-specialty general dentistry team at Sachem Dental Group. Our highly experienced providers will evaluate your situation and discuss the options available. We’re happy to walk you through the step-by-step process of what you can expect. If other alternative treatments are available, we’ll review those with you as well.
Call our Long Island dentists today for an appointment.