What is Gum Contouring?

By Dr Anthony Hua
A smile says a lot about a person. Many people say it’s the first thing they notice. There are countless songs, poems, paintings, and stories written about smiles. All in all, it’s fair to say your smile is pretty important. If you’re not happy with the way your smile looks, it can wreak havoc on your self-confidence. Here at Burleigh Dental Studio, we want you to feel your best. If you are looking into gum contouring, this blog will help provide you with information about what it is, how it works, what it can do, and potential risks or adverse effects so you have a better understanding of what gum contouring involves.

If you’re looking into gum contouring, there are generally one of two issues that could be causing you to want this procedure.


A ‘gummy smile‘ is the result of a few different factors, which can be addressed using gum contouring. One cause of too much gum showing when smiling is due to a higher than average lip line exposing more of the teeth and gums than usual. Another reason can be an overgrowth of the gum itself, due to prescription medication, poor oral health, or other medical conditions. While it may be embarrassing, excess gum itself is not usually a cause for worry and is more of a cosmetic concern.

Too Little Gum

On the other hand, some people are concerned that not enough of their gum shows when they smile. To be specific, the ideal smile shows only your interproximal gingiva or the small triangular points of gum in between your teeth. If these aren’t showing, some people find this to give their smile an unpleasant or “creepy” appearance.

Gingival recession isn’t only a cosmetic issue, as a loss of gum exposes more of the tooth’s root surface and puts you at risk of abrasion, caries, bone loss and infection, all of which can be very painful. In this case, gum contouring is not only a cosmetic procedure but provides functional improvement as well.

How Gum Surgery Works

In the case of excess gum, the traditional technique involved using a dental scalpel to cut away extra tissue to expose more tooth structure and this can be an invasive procedure. Cosmetic Dentistry has come a long way since then and now advanced laser technology can be used for the procedure making it far less invasive. The surgery now involves firstly marking out your new gum line and checking that it is to your liking, tweaking it if it’s not quite ideal. Then, local anaesthetic is applied, and we will use an advanced dental laser to carefully remodel and reshape the excess gum, whilst sealing any nerve endings simultaneously. This whole process is relatively efficient and comfortable.

In the case of gum recession, a gingival graft is normally required to add gum tissue to the areas affected. The graft usually comes from the patient’s palate, or a donor tissue can be used to create a new gum line and help preserve the root of the tooth. This surgery generally involves a longer period of recovery.

Risks And Adverse Effects

Minor post-surgical pain is to be expected but can usually be managed using over-the-counter pain relief such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.

You will also want to avoid any spicy, crunchy, or seedy foods for several days to help avoid excessive pain, bleeding, or irritation of your gums. Stick to soft and cool foods like jelly, protein shakes, yoghurt, or ice cream. We’re sure an excuse to eat ice cream is a benefit and not a risk here!

You may also be prescribed antibiotics or an antibacterial mouth rinse depending on your risk of infection. Overall, the surgery is relatively low-risk, and most people heal quickly, as with most oral procedures.

So now that you understand the benefits and risks of gum contouring, you might be feeling like this is the ideal way to help elevate your smile. At Burleigh Dental Studio we offer the procedure using the advanced dental laser technique that is virtually painless, efficient, and long-lasting. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your dental needs and whether gum contouring is a suitable procedure for your smile.

dr anthony huaArticle by Dr Anthony Hua – Principal Dentist

Dr Anthony Hua is the Founder & Principal Dentist at Burleigh Dental Studio. His passion, expertise and dedication to the field of dentistry have been recognised by his achievement of Fellowship status with the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry (ASID) and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI).

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