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Periodontal Plastic Surgery

There are a number of reasons to undergo periodontal plastic surgery. Some reasons are aesthetic, while others are intended to repair or replace damaged teeth and their support structures, ligaments, and soft tissues. Surgery is nearly always the last resort, but in some cases with severe or widespread damage or where the patient is in acute pain that interferes with their daily lives, surgery may be the only option. Some examples of this include tooth extraction, tongue piercing damage repair, or to ameliorate widespread periodontal disease. Still another reason may be to encourage a tooth that has not erupted naturally through the gingival tissue (gums) to do so. This procedure is known as tooth uncovery or tooth exposure.

Many people have periodontal plastic surgery to correct a horsey or gummy smile, where the teeth and gums are disproportionate as compared to a “normal” smile. While neither of these is harmful and are in fact considered to be normal, this type of aesthetic drawback makes many people uncomfortable or self-conscious about laughing and smiling. Fortunately, correcting these problems is relatively simple and the patient usually incurs minimal discomfort. Crown lengthening and crown shortening have been in use for decades to treat periodontal disease, but they can also make your smile appear more balanced and proportionate.

Making a smile look great and helping patients feel better about their mouths sometimes means other measures, such as tooth extraction. In such a situation, the priority is to balance the short term benefit of the surgery against the long term potential problems. When advanced periodontal disease is present, surgery may be the only way to get the person’s mouth back to an aesthetically and functionally pleasing configuration. Cases like these make tooth socket preservation a priority to prevent resorption (also known as melting) of the supporting bone.

Crown Lengthening

Crown Shortening

Gummy Smile