Periodontists are experts in periodontal plastic surgery. The gums are just as important as the teeth! As a result of periodontal disease, aggressive brushing, or tooth position relative to the bone, the gums can recede over time creating the appearance of a longer, “toothier” smile. Periodontal plastic surgery like gum grafting and recontouring can help restore the position of your gumline to its ideal to compliment your smile. We have many different options for gum grafting, including your own tissue, donated and processed tissue, and even Platelet-Rich Fibrin! At Periodontics and Dental Implants of Central Park, Drs. Kyle Diehl and Colleen Leong are highly skilled microsurgeons with a critical eye for esthetics to make sure your periodontal plastic surgery is top notch.

As we age, our gums naturally recede with time. However, this process can be accelerated as a result of periodontal disease and its associated bone loss, improper toothbrushing, or tooth position relative to the jawbone. Gums serve to protect the root surfaces of the teeth, insulating them from the cold and safeguarding them from cavities.

We have two types of gum tissue in our mouth – keratinized and nonkeratinized, or working and nonworking tissue. Keratinized tissue is similar to the tissue found on the palm of the hand and nonkeratinized tissue is similar to the tissue found on the back of the hand. The differences in the tissues are that the keratinized tissues are thicker and are conditioned to be more protective, while nonkeratinized tissues are looser and more freely movable. Sometimes, teeth need more keratinized, working tissue around them to be more protected. Other times, teeth simply need the tissues to be pulled up higher around where the root and crown meet.

Drs. Diehl and Leong traditionally take tissue from the roof of your mouth and graft it to where it is needed. However, modern options can include palate-free grafting, in which donated and processed tissue can be used in lieu of your own tissue to prevent a second surgical site in your mouth.

Sometimes we have too much of a good thing! If you feel that your smile is too “gummy,” we have multiple options in treating excessive gum display. Drs. Diehl and Leong can recontour your gums, shaping them to frame your teeth in the ideal ratio. Gingival recontouring can sometimes require some removal of the underlying bone to prevent the excess gum tissue from growing back.

Botox, or another neurotoxin, can also be selectively placed in the muscles that elevate your upper lip to help minimize this gum display.