Is something about your smile a bit "off?" Perhaps your teeth appear unusually long or uneven in length, or they resemble tiny little baby teeth awash in a sea of pink gum tissue. Maybe periodontal disease has left you with inflamed or even bleeding gums. Well, there's no need to keep your mouth clamped shut out of shame, because modern cosmetic dentistry techniques can fix those blemishes more quickly and easily than ever before. Here are three examples.
1. Raising a Low Gum Line
If your smile features your gums instead of your teeth, it may be that your gum tissue has overgrown a bit, covering the tops of what should be visible enamel. A low gum line is not uncommon, and it certainly poses no threat to your dental well being, but the resulting "gummy" smile might make you feel self-conscious.
Periodontal surgery can remove that extra bit of gum tissue in a procedure known as gingival sculpting. Before proceeding, your dentist will discuss with you exactly how much higher your gum line can or should be raised; sometimes a line will be drawn on the gums to indicate the new level. Traditional contouring surgery involves a scalpel and stitches, with some post-operative pain and swelling and a recovery period ranging from days to weeks. But modern laser gum treatment, which sculpts your new gum line in a matter of minutes, requires no stitches or cutting at all and takes only one day of recovery time.
2. Lowering a High Gum Line
If your gum line is higher than normal, some of your teeth may appear almost fang-like in length. Your gums may have receded due to periodontal disease, overly-harsh tooth brushing, hormonal changes or other reasons. Whatever the cause, periodontal surgery can correct a high gum line almost as easily as it can correct a low gum line. The conventional approach calls for a technique called gum grafting. A small piece of tissue is taken from the roof of your mouth and stitched into place over the part of the tooth that needs to be covered.
The main downside to gum grafting is that it can be painful. Fortunately, a new method has come along that makes lowering a high gum line easier than ever for patients. This method, known as the "pinhole surgical technique," involves making a small incision in the gum and then displacing it, pushing it down into the desired new position with specialized tools. The dentist then applies collagen to help anchor the tissue in place. This new treatment leaves you with much less discomfort and no injury to the roof of your mouth, allowing you to heal more quickly.
3. Treating Periodontal Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is astonishingly common -- in fact, half of all Americans are believed to suffer from it. This disease not only causes reddened, swollen, bleeding gums, but it can also lead to dangerous abscesses and even systemic bacterial infections. Periodontal surgery can save your gums, teeth and overall health, so it's definitely worth doing. But it's not exactly fun, since the dentist has to cut into the gum tissue to clean out the infection.
Once again, laser gum treatment comes to the rescue by making your periodontal surgery a breeze compared to conventional methods. A technique known as laser-assisted new attachment procedure, or LANAP, uses a high-frequency laser beam to vaporize bacteria with pinpoint precision. This is much less invasive than the old method of cutting out diseased tissue. The laser then stimulates clotting to seal the area with no need for stitches, leaving you with minimal post-operative pain and swelling. You can smile with confidence again almost immediately -- and the knowledge that you may have just saved your teeth is certainly reason enough to smile!
If you need cosmetic and/or functional dental work done, ask your dentist about the availability of the latest high-tech procedures. A nicer smile and healthier gums may be easier to achieve than you ever imagined! For more information on laser dental treatment, go to this website.