Teeth often receive the most attention during oral health routines and regular dental office visits. However, the soft tissues of your mouth are equally as important. Certain soft tissue problems can be as visually noticeable as stained or chipped teeth. Excess soft tissue might cause you both physical discomfort as well as lower confidence in your smile.
There are a couple of cosmetic dentistry procedures that can eliminate excess soft tissue and improve your smile. Discuss the possibility of the procedures with your cosmetic dentist to learn if you are a candidate.
The lingual frenum is a band of soft tissue under your tongue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. An excessively long frenum can impede the motion of your tongue, which can interfere with chewing and cause speech issues. The impeded motion of your tongue can also look strange to others when your mouth is open during speaking.
Your dentist can shorten the lingual frenum through a procedure called a frenectomy. The dentist will trim off the excess soft tissue using either a laser or handheld surgical tools. Little healing time is required but you may need to work with a physical or speech therapist to learn to move your now looser tongue. The amount of excess tissue can determine how much aftercare you need to learn to speak and chew properly.
Excess gum tissue can make your teeth look short and stubby. Your dentist can cut away excess gum tissue using a procedure called contouring. The area is numbed and the dentist uses handheld tools to carefully trim away the excess tissue and shape the remaining tissue to naturally and attractively hug the bottom of your teeth.
Gum contouring can be used on its own or as a follow-up procedure after a scaling or root planing cleaning. Scaling and root planing are used in cases of severe periodontal disease that has caused the gums to pull away from the teeth and form deep pockets.
The cleanings are performed to remove bacteria from the teeth, gums, and gum pockets. Then the pockets are cut and trimmed so that the gums can be pulled tight to the teeth. Gum contouring is then used to finish crafting the gums around the teeth.
Always discuss any soft tissue issues with your cosmetic dentist as soon as the problems present or become bothersome to your everyday life. There might be additional procedures that can be used to solve your particular soft tissue excess.