What is Gum Reshaping?

Gum reshaping (also known as tissue sculpting) is a cosmetic dental procedure that fixes an uneven gum line, which can make your teeth look small. Your dentist numbs the area before the surgery and uses lasers or scalpels to remove or reshape excess gum tissue.


The treatment is usually quick and comfortable. Lasers are preferred for this procedure because they not only cut, but also cauterize the area, so patients experience less pain and a faster recovery.

What is the procedure?

Gum contouring is a cosmetic dental procedure to make the teeth look even and symmetrical. It can be done with a scalpel or using a laser. Laser is preferred because it is less invasive and provides a more precise cut. It also cauterizes the tissue as it cuts, reducing bleeding and the need for sutures. It also reduces the healing time.

A laser gum surgery will start with the dentist giving you a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then he or she will use the laser to remove or sculpt the excess gum tissue to expose more of your natural tooth. In some cases, the doctor will have to add tissue to fix a receding gum line or an overgrowth of tissue caused by hereditary factors, pregnancy, certain medications such as antiseizure drugs and immunosuppressants.

Depending on the amount of tissue removed, the surgery can be painful. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen can help alleviate the discomfort. Avoid aspirin, though, as it can increase bleeding and interfere with the healing process.

This is a cosmetic procedure, so it’s not covered by insurance. However, if you’re having it done to address a health issue, such as periodontal disease or excessive tooth brushing, your insurance might cover some of the cost. Talk to your dentist and your insurance provider for more information.

How long will the procedure last?

Gum reshaping is typically an in-office procedure that lasts about one to two hours. Your dentist in Minnetonka will numb the area with a local anesthetic before they begin. They may use a soft tissue laser or a scalpel to remove tissue or reshape your gum line. The laser is less invasive than a scalpel, which can reduce discomfort and recovery time.

The dentist may also graft tissue to your gums to address a receding gum line. This can help you regain confidence in your smile as it lengthens and reshapes your teeth. However, you will likely experience some tenderness and pain afterwards. Your dentist will recommend over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers to help manage this. Be sure to avoid aspirin because it can increase bleeding and interfere with the healing process. A cold compress can be soothing as well, although it’s important to be mindful of over-use because ice constricts blood vessels and decreases healing.

Most of the time, reshaping your gums is considered cosmetic and won’t be covered by dental insurance. However, if your gums are receding due to gum disease, your insurance may consider the surgery necessary for your overall oral health. It’s important to discuss this with your insurance provider so you can determine if it is covered. They can give you more information about your options for gum reshaping and payment plans that might work for you.

Will I feel any pain?

The answer to this depends on how much gum tissue is removed or reshaped, but you should not feel any pain during the procedure. This is because the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area before starting. You may feel some tenderness after the procedure, however, depending on how much tissue was affected. You should be able to manage any discomfort with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. You can also use a cold compress to reduce swelling.

Most people who undergo gum reshaping do so for cosmetic reasons, such as to correct a “gummy smile.” But it can also be used for medical purposes. For instance, if you have lost a lot of gum tissue because of periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend gum contouring surgery to help restore it and protect your teeth and bones.

There are several different types of gum contouring procedures, including laser gum reshaping and traditional surgery with a scalpel. Your doctor will discuss which one is right for you during your consultation. The most important thing to remember is that you will need to follow the doctor’s guidelines for post-surgery recovery. This will include sticking to a soft diet and not engaging in any activities that could cause injury to the area. You will also need to visit the doctor for a follow-up appointment to make sure the gums are healing properly.

Will I need to visit the dentist again?

Aside from being an aesthetic treatment, gum reshaping can also address oral health issues. Excess gum tissue can trap food particles and make teeth hard to clean, which contributes to tooth decay, periodontal problems, and other dental conditions. Trimming back the gum line removes these problems and helps your teeth stay healthy, longer.

Another concern many patients have is a “gummy smile” or the feeling that they have too much gum tissue around their teeth. Gingival reshaping is an excellent solution for this problem, and can be done in conjunction with other cosmetic treatments to improve the appearance of your smile.

Gum contouring (or reshaping) uses a laser to cut away soft tissue and restore the ideal shape of your gum line. This method is less painful than using a scalpel because it cauterizes as it cuts, reducing bleeding and making healing quick and easy. You may feel tenderness after the procedure, but this will only last a day or two. Your dentist will recommend taking aspirin-free pain relievers or an ice pack to help manage any discomfort.

Remember that gum reshaping is not a replacement for routine dental care. It is important to visit your dentist for a full exam, twice per year, to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. During these appointments, your dentist will take X-rays, check that your bite is in proper alignment, prod your fillings for looseness, and perform an oral cancer screening.