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    If your gums rest too low or too high on your teeth and you are unhappy with your smile, you may be a candidate for gum contouring surgery. Also called gum reshaping or tissue sculpting, this cosmetic dental procedure can even out an uneven gum line and give you a smile you can be proud of.

    What Causes Uneven Gums?

    A number of things can cause your gums to be too low or too high. Gums that cover a large portion of your teeth can make your teeth look small. This may be the result of genetics, a particular health problem, or taking certain prescription drugs.

    Gums that are too high and make your teeth appear long are often caused by gum recession, a condition in which gum tissue pulls back from a tooth and exposes the tooth's root. Not only can gum recession make your teeth look long, it can lead to serious dental problems such as decay and tooth loss. Gum recession may also be a sign of periodontal disease, the deterioration of the supporting structures of the teeth (gums and bone) .

    Gum Contouring Surgery: Is It Necessary?

    Gum contouring alone is considered a cosmetic procedure. Most of the time it is not medically necessary. Most people have their gums reshaped to improve the appearance of their smile. However, some people undergo gum contouring surgery as part of other necessary periodontal procedures, such as crown lengthening, pocket reduction, and regenerative procedures.

    Gum contouring procedures not considered cosmetic include adding gum tissue when recession has occurred and trimming overgrown tissue that has covered part of the tooth crown.

    What Type of Doctors Perform Gum Contouring?

    Many general dentists and periodontists (gum specialists) can perform the gum contouring procedure. Before having the procedure done, ask your dentist about his or her knowledge and experience with the process.

    Gum Contouring: How Much Does It Cost?

    The cost of gum contouring depends on the extent of the work being done. Talk to your dentist about the cost based on your individual needs. Dental insurance does not typically cover gum contouring for cosmetic purposes.

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    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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