Gum Contouring Surgery: What You Need to Know

Gum Contouring Surgery: What You Need to Know

A beautiful smile can transform one’s appearance and boost self-confidence. However, an uneven gum line can detract from the perfect smile. Enter gum contouring, a dental procedure that reshapes the gum line to create a more uniform and aesthetically pleasing smile. Let’s explore the world of gum contouring and what you need to know before embarking on this journey to achieve that stunning smile.

Key Takeaways

  • Gum contouring is a cosmetic dental procedure to reshape the gum line and improve appearance of one’s smile.
  • Ideal candidates for this procedure are those with uneven gums, excess gum tissue, or dissatisfaction with their current gums. Good overall health is necessary for successful results.
  • The cost may be partially covered by insurance and should only be undertaken after discussing risks such as swelling, bleeding, infection & dissatisfaction with an experienced practitioner.

Understanding Gum Contouring: The Basics

Gum contouring, also known as gum reshaping or gingival sculpting, is a dental procedure that involves reshaping the gum line by removing excess gum tissue or grafting tissue to achieve a more uniform and aesthetically pleasing smile. While primarily a cosmetic dental procedure, gum contouring can also offer functional benefits, such as reinforcing the teeth along the gum line.

Individuals with existing decay or gum disease should not undergo gum contouring, as it could exacerbate their oral health issues. However, gum contouring is a safe cosmetic procedure when conducted by a certified practitioner and under local anesthesia to ensure a painless experience.

The Purpose of Gum Contouring

Gum contouring is designed to enhance the appearance of a “gummy smile” or address periodontal disease, providing a better surface for dental implants and correcting an uneven gum line. The provider takes into account factors such as:

  • gum-to-tooth ratio
  • lip position
  • tooth wear
  • facial bone structure

When determining the amount of excessive gum tissue to be removed, gum contouring surgery aims to remove excess gum tissue.

In addition to its aesthetic benefits, gum contouring may offer functional advantages to patients, such as improving the health of teeth and gums, simplifying the maintenance of good oral hygiene, and averting potential dental issues. After the procedure, it is recommended to consume soft foods to avoid discomfort.

Ideal Candidates for Gum Contouring

Ideal candidates for gum contouring are those with:

  • uneven gums
  • excess gum tissue
  • gum recession due to various factors such as genetics, gum disease, or improper brushing
  • a ‘gummy’ smile
  • genetically predisposed short teeth
  • dissatisfaction with the positioning of their gums on their teeth

These individuals may be suitable candidates for this cosmetic dental procedure.

Maintaining good overall health prior to the procedure is vital for candidates to ensure a successful outcome and minimize the risk of complications.

The Gum Contouring Procedure: Step by Step

The gum contouring procedure includes the following steps:

  1. Consultation: The dentist will review the desired cosmetic objectives, complete an assessment, and examine bone levels.
  2. Procedure: The procedure is typically performed by a periodontist or a cosmetic dentist, who utilizes techniques specific to the individual’s mouth and various gum contouring procedures.
  3. Duration: The procedure may take between 1-2 hours, depending on the number of teeth being treated.

If a patient has insufficient gum tissue, the dentist may opt to remove tissue from another part of their mouth and graft it to the receded areas in order to reshape and lengthen the gum line. In the case of excess gum tissue, a soft tissue laser or a scalpel and sutures may be employed by the dentist for tissue removal.

Preparing for the Procedure

Before commencing the gum contouring process, the dentist will review the desired cosmetic objectives, complete an assessment, and examine bone levels.

The dentist needs to verify bone levels to ensure that the gums don’t return to their original position after the procedure.

During the Surgery

During the gum contouring procedure, the dentist will administer local anesthesia and sedation options to ensure the patient’s comfort. The duration of the procedure ranges from one to two hours, depending on the number of teeth being treated.

For patients with a “gummy” smile, the dental professional will remove the excess gum tissue using a laser or scalpel and reshape the gum line to reveal more of the tooth. In cases of gum recession, the dentist may graft tissue from another part of the mouth to the receded areas to restore the gum line and protect the teeth from potential damage, such as bone loss and tooth decay.

Post-Operative Care

Post-operative care for gum contouring includes managing pain with over-the-counter pain medications and using an antibiotic mouthwash to prevent infection.


Patients should avoid eating hard foods and attend follow-up appointments to monitor their progress and ensure proper healing.

Risks and Complications of Gum Contouring

As with any surgical procedure, gum contouring carries some risks and potential complications, such as:

  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Dissatisfaction with the results

Additional treatments, like laser gum contouring or gum grafting, may be necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.

Discussing these risks and complications with your dentist and weighing the pros and cons before deciding to undergo gum contouring surgery is key. The risks associated with gum contouring can be minimized by having the procedure conducted by a certified practitioner and adhering to post-operative care instructions.

The Cost of Gum Contouring and Insurance Coverage

The cost of gum contouring can vary depending on the extent of the procedure and the specific needs of the individual. Dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost of gum contouring if it is deemed medically necessary for oral health or periodontal disease treatment.

When contemplating gum contouring, discussing potential costs with your dentist and confirming your dental insurance coverage is crucial. If gum contouring is not covered by your insurance, you may need to explore alternative payment options or consider other treatment options for addressing your uneven gums.

Finding the Right Cosmetic Dentist for Your Gum Contouring Needs


The selection of a competent cosmetic dentist for your gum contouring procedure plays a significant role in achieving optimal results. Ensure that the dentist has experience in gum contouring and holds the necessary qualifications. Request to view before-and-after examples of their work to assess their capabilities and the quality of their results.

A thorough evaluation of the cosmetic dentist’s experience, qualifications, and previous work can guide you towards a well-informed decision and boost your confidence in the procedure. Remember, a skilled and experienced dentist plays a crucial role in the success of your gum contouring surgery.

Realistic Expectations: Results and Permanence of Gum Contouring

Gum contouring can offer immediate results, making the teeth appear larger and enhancing the overall aesthetics of the gums. The procedure is generally permanent, but it is possible for gum tissue to regrow if insufficient bone is removed. Being aware of this possibility is important when setting realistic expectations for the outcomes of gum contouring.

Before deciding to undergo gum contouring surgery, discussing your goals and expectations with your dentist is of utmost importance. A clear understanding of the potential outcomes will help ensure your satisfaction with the results and avoid disappointment or the need for additional treatments.

Alternative Treatment Options for Uneven Gums

If gum contouring is not the right solution for you, there are alternative treatments available for addressing uneven gums. Non-surgical treatments for periodontal disease, such as scaling and root planing, antibiotics, and laser therapy, can help improve gum health without the need for surgery.

Orthodontic treatments, such as braces and clear aligners, can also help address uneven gums by correcting misaligned teeth and enhancing gum aesthetics. Dental veneers, thin shells of porcelain or composite material bonded to the front of the teeth, can be another option for improving the appearance of your gums without undergoing gum contouring surgery.


Gum contouring is a transformative dental procedure that can reshape the gum line and enhance the appearance of your smile. Understanding the procedure, its risks and benefits, and the importance of selecting a qualified cosmetic dentist can help ensure a successful outcome. By setting realistic expectations and exploring alternative treatment options, you can make an informed decision and take the first step toward achieving a beautiful, confident smile.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does gum contouring last?

Gum contouring results are generally permanent and do not need to be repeated.

Regular oral care can help maintain the results.

What is gum contouring?

Gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure used to sculpt and reshape gums by cutting away excessive tissue that causes a gummy smile or restoring receded tissue that exposes too much of the tooth.

Is gum contouring painful?

Gum contouring is generally done under local anesthesia, so there should be no pain during the procedure.

However, you can expect some pain and discomfort afterwards.

Is gum contouring a good idea?

Gum contouring can be a beneficial procedure, helping to create an even gumline and improve overall dental health.

However, it’s important to understand the potential risks involved, such as allergic reaction to the anesthesia and relapse of gum tissue.

What are the potential risks and complications of gum contouring?

Gum contouring carries potential risks of swelling, bleeding, infection, and dissatisfaction with results, which may require additional treatments for desired outcomes.

Back to blog

Have any questions we didn't cover? We'll get back to you in less than 24hrs 👇🏼