When we think of cosmetic surgery, we tend to focus on the cheeks, eyes, and nose. However, there are some appearance enhancements that a cosmetic surgeon can’t make – those having to do with your teeth. As more people look to improve their appearance through surgery, cosmetic dentistry and periodontology are experiencing a rise in popularity. In fact, a poll conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology found that smile-enhancement procedures outnumbered eyelid surgeries five to one.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry cites a recent study in which participants were shown photos of people before and after smile-enhancing treatment. The people with improved smiles were rated not just as more attractive, but they were also seen as more popular, sensitive, successful, and friendly.
If you’re interested in improving your smile, we can help in a variety of areas. The following are some of the most common corrections we perform for our patients.
Gummy smile or uneven gum smile
If you have too much gum showing when you smile, causing your teeth to look short, we call this a “gummy smile.” If your gum line is uneven, causing some teeth to look shorter than others, we call this a “crooked smile.” Both situations are easily remedied with a procedure referred to as a gum lift or crown lengthening. During this procedure, we remove excess gum tissue and reshape the contour of your gums to lengthen the crowns of your teeth and provide a natural-looking gum line.
Long teeth / exposed roots
Gum recession can be caused by gum disease, vigorous brushing, grinding or clenching, or simply age and genetics. Regardless of the cause, as gums recede, they expose the roots of the tooth, creating the appearance of longer teeth. Exposed roots also increase vulnerability to root decay, bone loss, and sensitivity to hot and cold liquids and foods. The solution to this situation is a soft-tissue graft, also known as a gum graft. During this procedure, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is transplanted to the gum area, covering the roots and restoring the gum line to its original, healthy location. A soft-tissue graft protects your roots from decay and helps prevent additional gum recession.
Aside from creating distracting gaps in your smile, missing teeth can cause problems with your oral health. To restore your smile to fullness and health, we use implants. An implant is a replacement tooth that is attached to a synthetic root and is surgically placed into the jawbone. Permanent implant crowns look and feel like natural teeth. Implants can last a lifetime if cared for properly.
When a tooth falls out or is removed, an indentation can appear in the gums and jawbone just above the spot where the tooth used to be. This occurs because the jawbone slowly atrophies or disappears in response to the empty space. In combination with replacing your missing tooth, we can provide ridge augmentation — a procedure in which we smooth out the indentation to recreate the original curvature of your gums and jaw. This procedure generally includes bone grafting to restore the missing bone. In some cases, it must be performed prior to the placement of implants to ensure that sufficient bone is available to securely retain the implant.