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Dental Care Blog

Laser Dentistry - Gum Recontouring FAQ

Serving Sacramento, Modesto and Stockton, California


What is gum recontouring?

Properly proportioned, healthy-looking gums can make a huge difference in your smile! The gums are much like the frame of a picture. A poorly chosen frame can detract from an otherwise beautiful picture. Their shape affects the shape of your teeth.  Likewise, their color and appearance affects the vitality of your smile.  Gum contouring allows you to shape the gums to a more ideal appearance and proportion. Dr. Bartolome and Dr. Swearingen can comfortably accomplish this by removing excess tissue to fix a “gummy” smile. When your teeth appear “too long” because of gum recession, tissue can also be added at the neck of the tooth to solve this problem.

How will they fix my “gummy smile”?

Dr. Bartolome and Dr. Swearingen use special instruments, most commonly a laser, to shape excess tissue. This “sculpting” procedure is known as a gingevectomy. It will give your smile a more youthful, natural appearance since your newly shaped gums will properly frame and showcase your teeth. The procedure will be quick and comfortable, and the laser will actually seal the gum tissue helping you to heal faster.  In some more complex cases a minor surgical procedure is necessary to achieve the “ideal” result. 

How do you repair teeth that look “too long” because of receding gums?

This is accomplished by our office or a periodontist (gum specialist).  After making sure that you are completely comfortable, tissue is repositioned by a variety of techniques to accomplish the goal.  Which technique is employed is dependent on the needs of the individual case. This simple procedure will shape your gums to a more ideal frame for your teeth, giving you a younger and more attractive smile.

Who is a good candidate for gum recontouring?

Anyone who has uneven gums, a “gummy” smile, or receding gums with teeth that look “too long” is a good candidate. “Gummy” smiles make your teeth look too small. Gum recession not only makes your smile look older and less attractive, but can also lead to loose teeth and sensitivity to hot and cold.

What can I expect after the procedure?

Normally patients do very well with these procedures.  There is minimal discomfort and swelling.  If needed, Dr. Bartolome and Dr. Swearingen will recommend an over-the-counter analgesic such as Ibuprofen.  Occasionally, a stronger prescription medication is necessary. Usually he will have you rinse your mouth with salt water or a special antibacterial mouthwash. You will do this once or twice a day for the next two weeks to aid the healing process.  Almost without exception, patients feel the minimal discomfort related to these procedures is well worth it once they see the final results of their treatment.

If you would like to learn more about laser gum recontouring and how it may help the appearance of your smile, please contact Dr. Michelle Bartolome and Dr. William Swearingen, serving cosmetic and general dentistry patients in the area of Sacramento, California.





Email or call us to see how we can change your smile.

Michelle C. Bartolome D.M.D. William H. Swearingen D.D.S.


Cosmetic and General Dentistry
7916 Pebble Beach Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95610