What is cosmetic gum surgery?

Surgery of any type can cause apprehension. However, cosmetic gum surgery performed by a qualified cosmetic dentistry expert is relatively simple and can greatly improve the appearance of your smile. Cosmetic surgery is mainly the solution to two types of problems: the long tooth look and the gummy smile. Both of these conditions are usually caused by aging, gum disease or poor oral hygiene. They progressively grow worse with age. Cosmetic gum surgery can also help people with collapsed gums in the area of a missing tooth, blackened areas between implants, crowns or other teeth and tooth sensitivity caused by receding gums.

The long tooth look is caused by receding gums or a bad bite. As we age, our gums naturally shrink and recede. This can leave your teeth overexposed at the gum line.

The gummy smile is caused by excess gum tissue, which causes the teeth to appear too short. People with a gummy smile often feel self-conscious about the amount of gum tissue visible when they smile.

How is Cosmetic Gum Surgery Performed?

The two main types of cosmetic gum surgery, used to correct the long tooth look and the gummy smile, differ. The gummy smile corrective surgery reduces the excess gum and bone. The cosmetic dentist typically uses a laser to perform this type of surgery. A soft-tissue laser removes excess gum tissue while a specialized laser cuts away excess bone.

The procedure for correcting the long tooth look works in much the same way as a skin graft. We remove healthy skin from the roof of the mouth and grafts it onto the gum line. The result is a natural looking, reinforced gum line.

Will I Be Awake for This Procedure?

There are two possibilities:

  1. You may have the surgery done in a series of office visits. We will use a local anesthetic each time to freeze the area of the gums they are working on. This is a good possibility with the laser surgery used to correct the gummy smile. Each visit could see more gum and bone tissue removed.
  2. You might be given a general anesthetic and have all of the work performed at once. This may be necessary if you are having grafting done from the roof of your mouth to correct a long tooth smile. If you require other work such as dental implants or preparation for veneers, have all of the work done while you under anesthetic. There are risks every time you use a general anesthetic so avoid having more than one done for dental work.

What should I do first?

Before undergoing any type of cosmetic gum surgery, discuss the procedure thoroughly with us. This procedure may be just one aspect of an overall plan with several components to improve your smile. Cosmetic gum surgery might be complimented with the use of veneers, bridges, crowns or other cosmetic dentistry treatments to get your smile looking its best.


Sedation and Implant Dentists offer trusted, comprehensive dental care from one convenient location in Los Angeles County. Our dentists engage in ongoing continuing education to provide patients with the latest advances in dentistry including modern dental implant solutions, custom crowns and bridges and transformative 3D technology. The team at Sedation Dentists strive to ease all patients who suffer from dental anxiety, and takes pride in offering an inviting, comfortable environment for every treatment. Sedation and Implant Dentists offer IV sedation in-house as well as nitrous oxide to patients.



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by Thomas Gonzales D.D.S.

Thomas Gonzales D.D.S. is a Los Angeles dentist with advanced training in dental implants. He has 46 years’ experience and is licensed in IV Sedation. Dr. Gonzales has taught courses worldwide on dental implants including for Noris Medical, Nobel, Neodent, LVI Global and Dental Implant Institute. He was a professor of IV Sedation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine and a neuromuscular dentistry instructor for Loma Linda Medical Center. He is a member of several prestigious organizations, including: the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and American Dental Society of Anesthesiology. Dr. Gonzales is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. He served in the United States Army and is a Vietnam War Veteran.

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