Contouring and Reshaping
Frame the Teeth
pink gum tissue compliments and frames the teeth. The esthetic
framing of the gum tissue is as important to the teeth as a
quality frame is to a painting. Gum tissue that is red and swollen,
and unsymmetrical in appearance detracts from teeth that are
The first order
of business is to return the tissue to a healthy state. That
is to reduce any inflammation and get the tissue tight and pink.
Once that is achieved, you evaluate the contours of the tissue.
When you look
at an attractive smile you not only see beautiful teeth but
also gum tissue that is symmetrically draped around each tooth.
The edge of the gum tissue (gingival margins) should be at the
same height for the two front teeth and the two canines.
margin of the two lateral incisors, which are next to the front
teeth, should be about 1 to 1 1/2 millimeters lower than the
other teeth. Now we know what is normal gum tissue. What about
tissue with poor contours?
A common problem
is unsymmetrical gum tissue. By that I mean the gingival margins
are not at an esthetic position. The gum tissue could be lower
on one front tooth and not the other, thereby; creating the
appearance that one tooth is longer than the other.
would be that the gingival margins of all the teeth are at the
same height or the teeth appear to be too short. Then there
is the gummy smile. When an individual smiles, they show too
much gum tissue.
are these problems corrected?
Lift and Contouring
that may be required is to surgically contour the gum tissue
to a more esthetically balanced appearance. This is called a
simple cosmetic gum lift. I perform this procedure utilizing
a laser and only a topical anesthetic (no needles). The tissue
heals very quickly with very little discomfort.
Of course, there
are times when contouring the tissue alone is not enough. In
those circumstances the bone at the front of the root may have
to be reduced. This is done because the gingival margins need
to be about 3 millimeters from the edge of the bone. If you
don't reduce the bone the tissue will grow back. This procedure,
while more invasive than a simple gum lift, is still relatively
comfortable when done properly.
gum lift is a remarkably simple cosmetic procedure that can
make a tremendous difference to one's smile. Consult your dentist
if you think that you are a candidate for this procedure.
Pros and Cons of a tooth contouring and reshaping
can remove only a small amount of tooth enamel, contouring your
problem tooth into a more pleasing shape for an improved smile.
The tooth contouring procedure is quick, simple, painless, and
There are limits.
You may be at risk for tooth breakage and decay if too much
enamel is removed your teeth. If your teeth were uneven because
you grind them, they'll become uneven again until the grinding
issue is resolved. Your dental insurance is likely to cover
tooth contouring and reshaping only if it is needed as a result
of an accident.
literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
A bridge is
made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap
– these two anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth – and
a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called
pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination
of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural
teeth or implants.
Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
• Restore your smile
• Restore your ability to properly chew and speak
• Maintain the shape of your face
• Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing
• Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
What Types of Dental Bridges Are Available?
are three main types of bridges:
• Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth
or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic
in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of
bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
• Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth
on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
• Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge
or a Maryland bridge) are made of plastic teeth and gums supported
by a metal framework. Metal wings on each side of the bridge
are bonded to your existing teeth.
What Is the Process for Obtaining a Dental Bridge?
During the first
visit, the abutment teeth are prepared. Preparation involves
recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to
allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions
of your teeth are made, which serve as a model from which the
bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental laboratory.
Your dentist will make a temporary bridge for you to wear to
protect the exposed teeth and gums while your bridge is being
During the second
visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new permanent
bridge will be checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve
a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit
of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual's
case. If the dental bridge is a fixed (permanent) bridge, your
dentist may temporarily cement it in place for a couple of weeks
to make sure it is fitting properly. After a couple weeks, the
bridge is permanently cemented into place.
Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
can last 5 to 15 years and even longer. With good oral hygiene
and regular prophylaxis, it is not unusual for the life span
of a fixed bridge to be over 10 years.
It Be Difficult to Eat With a Dental Bridge?
teeth should actually make eating easier. Until you become accustomed
to the bridge, eat soft foods that have been cut into small
the Dental Bridge Change How I Speak?
It can be difficult
to speak clearly when teeth are missing in the front or anterior
areas. Wearing a dental bridge with the anterior teeth in their
proper relationship will help you speak properly.
Do I Care for My Bridges?
It is important
to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong as the success
of the bridge (depending on the type selected) depends on the
solid foundation offered by the surrounding teeth. Brushing
twice a day and flossing daily helps prevent tooth decay and
gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Your dentist or dental
hygienist can demonstrate how to properly brush and floss your
teeth. Keeping a regular cleaning schedule will help diagnose
problems at an early stage when treatment has a better prognosis.
Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important.