What Is Gum Reshaping?

Gum reshaping, also known as gingival sculpting, is an in-office procedure that aims to improve the look of your gumline and your smile. Depending on your situation, it may be covered by insurance.


Excessive or uneven gum tissue can make teeth appear short and disproportionate. This cosmetic dentistry treatment can create a symmetrical smile using laser technology.

What Is the Procedure?

Gum reshaping is a minimally invasive procedure that usually only takes an hour or two to perform. Your dentist will numb the area around your gums with a topical anesthetic before trimming away any extra tissue or changing the shape of your gum line. We will be careful not to touch the roots of your teeth. In some cases, we may need to remove a small amount of tissue in order to give you the best results, though this will not be done often.

In many instances, we will use a laser tool during the procedure to sculpt and trim your gums. This is quicker than using a scalpel, as it cauterizes and seals the tissue as it is cut, eliminating the need for sutures. The laser also helps reduce bleeding and infection.

The recovery period after this treatment is relatively short, although you will need to be careful to avoid any sharp foods that could cut or harm the gums while they heal. You can manage any pain or discomfort with an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, found in Tylenol and Advil.

In addition to serving cosmetic purposes, gum reshaping can also be a necessary dental procedure for those with periodontal disease or other serious oral health issues. It can help restore a healthy gum line and improve the appearance of your smile while strengthening your teeth and reducing damage caused by severe gum disease.

How Does It Work?

A cosmetic procedure, gum reshaping is meant to fix problems with your smile’s appearance such as having a low or overly exposed gum line. It also makes teeth appear longer to create a more balanced, beautiful smile and boosts confidence. Depending on the type of gum contouring you receive, it can also help with the health of your smile because excessive or receding gum tissue can expose more of your tooth’s roots, making them vulnerable to bacteria, infections and tooth decay.

To perform gum reshaping, your dentist will first apply a local anesthetic to the area to ensure that you don’t feel any pain during the treatment. Then, he or she will use a dental laser built specifically for gum surgery to trim away the excess gum tissue. Unlike scalpels, this device allows the dentist to cut the tissue more precisely and with less bleeding. This means that you will need fewer stitches and heal faster too.

Having too much gum tissue is a medical concern that can be associated with gummy smiles, hereditary gingival hyperplasia, medications like anti-seizure drugs or immunosuppressants, and other conditions or diseases. Removing the excess gum tissue will reduce sensitivity and make it easier to keep your teeth clean. Over the long term, it can help prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay and can preserve more of your natural teeth.

What Are the Benefits?

The results of gum reshaping are subtle yet dramatic. Our dentists use the latest dental technology to eliminate excessive gum tissue that can make teeth appear short, disproportionate, and asymmetrical. The procedure also provides a more natural surface for cleaning and brushing. Patients who are self-conscious about crooked or overlapping teeth can achieve an attractive, confident smile with a simple treatment.

Our experienced team sculpts the gum line that frames your smile with precision. The treatment is minimally invasive, using a diode laser to cut away the excess gum tissue and reduce bleeding and swelling. Most patients experience minimal or no pain during recovery.

Gingivitis or other oral health issues may cause your gums to become overgrown and uneven. Some medications can also create an overgrowth of the gum tissue, hiding your roots and making your teeth appear shorter. Gum contouring can address all of these problems and help you have a healthier, more attractive smile.

The first step of the process involves giving you local anesthesia, similar to how a cavity filling works. Once you’re numb, your dentist uses a laser to shave down the excess gum tissue to remove or graft it as needed. This is one of the best examples of how advances in cosmetic dentistry have made procedures that would have been very difficult just a few decades ago easy and relatively painless to perform.

What Are the Risks?

Aside from some pain and tenderness that can occur immediately after surgery, gum contouring does not present any major risks. Your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort during the procedure. Nitrous oxide can also be used to help you relax and reduce anxiety during the procedure if you need it.

You may have some swelling after the procedure, but this typically clears up within a few days. If the swelling doesn’t subside, contact your dentist right away as this could be an indication of infection. To prevent infection, use over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers as directed and apply ice packs to the affected area to reduce swelling.

From a health standpoint, gum contouring is beneficial because it helps to promote oral hygiene and reduce the risk of periodontal disease. It does this by eliminating excess gum tissue that can hide bacteria and make it difficult to get to hard-to-reach areas with a toothbrush or dental floss.

In addition, removing excessive gum tissue can expose more of the natural tooth structure and help to create a longer-looking smile that looks healthier. Gum reshaping can also be useful before certain restorative dentistry procedures, such as porcelain veneers or dental crowns, in order to provide better support for the restoration. Lastly, some patients undergo gum contouring to improve the appearance of a “gummy” smile or fix issues like uneven or short teeth.