Project Description

Gum Contouring

Kathy Zahedi, DDS & Associates
Dr. Kathy Zahedi

Your gums can recede unevenly due to periodontal disease, or gum disease, including gingivitis (early gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced periodontal disease). This can create an unsightly smile and give some teeth the appearance of being either too long or too short. That’s where gum contouring comes in. Dr. Zahedi and her dental team can perform gum contouring surgery to even out the appearance of your gums and teeth.

If your gums sit too low or too high against your teeth and you are unhappy with your gummy or overly toothy smile, you may be a candidate for gum contouring surgery, which is also known as gum reshaping or soft tissue sculpting. Some dentists use soft-tissue dental lasers to contour gums without the cutting and blood loss that accompanies traditional oral surgery.

Gum contouring is a cosmetic dental procedure that can correct uneven gum lines and give you a more attractive smile. This procedure is typically performed after you are given a local anesthetic, and it is virtually painless. After the gum contouring procedure, you will likely experience some pain, soreness or discomfort just as you would with any other oral surgical procedure.

Many general dentists and all periodontists (gum disease specialists) perform gum contouring procedures. Before you have this procedure, ask your dentist about his or her knowledge and experience with gum contouring. Dentists use scalpels, lasers and radiosurgery to perform gum contouring procedures. Gum contouring surgery can be performed right in the dentist’s office. Ask your dentist which technique would be the most suitable for your situation.

Before surgery, your dentist will review what he or she will be doing during your procedure. Your dentist will use a marker to draw your new gum line. That will help you see exactly how much gum will be removed or how your gum line will be reshaped by the procedure.

We typically apply a local anesthetic to numb the area first. Occasionally we must remove bone from the front of the tooth’s root during the gum contouring procedure in order to achieve the best long-term results.

On the day of your surgery, it will be best for you to rest and limit activities. Complete healing of your gums may take a few days or weeks, since everyone heals differently. Your dentist will give you specific instructions about what you can do to speed your recovery. To help you get through your recovery period, here are some general help tips:

  • Ease your discomfort with an OTC pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil, as directed by your dentist. Avoid aspirin, which is a blood thinner that can cause excess bleeding.
  • Eat soft foods (e.g. cottage cheese, eggs, pasta, yogurt, soft vegetables, and ice cream) for a few days after surgery. Avoid hot, spicy foods and anything containing seeds (poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, etc.) until your gums are completely healed. Seeds are small enough to get stuck in healing gums, and you definitely want to avoid that.
  • Follow your dentist’s instructions about tooth brushing during the healing process. If you experience excessive pain, swelling or bleeding, or you have any concerns after your procedure, call your dentist.

Every surgery, including minor surgery, has risks. The risks related to gum contouring surgery include:

  • Allergic reactions to anesthesia (rare)
  • Relapse of gum tissue

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your teeth and gums, talk to your dentist about gum contouring surgery to determine if it is right for you. Just remember that the end result will depend on the skill of the dentist, as with any cosmetic dentistry procedure. Instead of going to the first dentist you find, do your research to make sure you are comfortable with the dentist you choose and his or her experience and capabilities. Ask the dentist what additional training he or she has had in cosmetic dentistry and more specifically, gum contouring. Also, ask to see before and after photos of the work he or she has done, and make sure you like the results you see.

We welcome patients from Santa Monica and nearby cities and towns.

(310) 294-8735
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About Dr. Ahn

Dr. Chanook David Ahn is a periodontist who specializes in dental implant surgery and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. Dr. Ahn also specializes in esthetic and functional soft tissue surgeries. His keen judgment and technical skills ensure optimized performance in procedures for each patient. With the respect of his peers and with his reputation for combining his well-proven techniques with the latest advances in dental technology, he is highly sought after as a lecturer and currently teaches dental students at the University of California Los Angeles.

Dr. Chanook David Ahn is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a BS in Biochemistry. He worked at the renowned David Watkin’s AIDS Vaccine Lab and during his time as a research specialist he was published in multiple manuscripts for the Journal of Virology.

After a year in AIDS research, Dr. Ahn attended Tufts University-School of Dental Medicine Boston and graduated in 2013. With his passion for excellence Dr. Ahn completed a 2-year General Practice Residency at Yale – New Haven Hospital as chief resident and was awarded resident of the year. During his training at Yale, having acquired clinical skills and experiencing countless varieties of dental cases, his passion to encompass all aspects of dental health lead him to pursue a specialty in periodontal surgery at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System where he graduated as co-chief resident.

Since 1997, Dr. Ahn has been on numerous international medical volunteer trips to various third-world countries in conjunction with several non-profit groups to places such as South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Sakhalin, India, and Peru. While Dr. Ahn’s academic background and surgical talents are noteworthy, it is his compassionate dedication to his patients and his passion to provide excellence in care that truly sets him apart.