What do you think of when you read the words, “gum contouring,” folks?
Because, before I had it done, I was picturing something kind of freaky, really. Something involving blood, and sharp things, and me lying there quaking in horror, wondering what the hell I’d let myself in for when I signed up for this whole ‘smile makeover’ business.
Well, spoiler alert, but it turns out that gum contouring is actually more like lying there happily watching a movie, while remaining pretty much oblivious to everything going around you. Or, that’s what it was like for me, anyway, because my dentist is all kinds of awesome, seriously. As I mentioned in my last post on this subject, they really like to go the extra mile in terms of making sure you’re comfortable and happy while having whatever treatment you need, and that’s a very good thing indeed, because while I don’t actually have much anxiety about the dentist – in fact, it’s one of the few things in life I’m NOT absolutely terrified of – I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little bit apprehensive when I arrived at Dentistry on the Square earlier this week for my gum contouring appointment. Because, GUM CONTOURING, people. I mean, it doesn’t exactly sound like a fun day out, does it?
It was, however, something I was absolutely determined to go through with, because my gummy smile has been the bane of my life for as long as I can remember now, and I was really keen to correct it. In particular, I knew that getting a smile makeover WITHOUT doing some gum contouring probably wouldn’t work for me, because beautiful white teeth would only make the expanse of gums around them even more obvious, so on Monday afternoon I headed into Glasgow, not really knowing what to expect.
Apologies for the extreme close-up of my face here, but I figured this post would be no use to anyone without some before and after shots, so here’s what my smile looked like before my appointment:
This is me smiling naturally – which was honestly quite painful to photograph, because I’m so used to pulling my lip down in a bid to try to cover the offending gums. So, quite a lot of gum on show there, and let’s not even talk about all of the other tooth-related issues that have now become painfully apparent as a result of me attempting to take close-up photos of my teeth. GOD.
So, I got to the dental surgery, got settled in the chair… and that’s pretty much all I can tell you about the rest of the appointment. I COULD, however, tell you quite a bit about the plot of ‘P.S. I Love You’, because that’s what I was watching as Jamie got to work on my gums. Genius, no? And, I mean, I obviously wasn’t totally oblivious to what was going on around me. Jamie had talked me through what was going to happen, and I could feel some pressure on my teeth and gums throughout the procedure, but, once the numbing gel was applied (So, no painful injections to deal with, either: just a little bit of gel, and then, BINGO! You can’t feel your nose any more!), I didn’t feel anything else after that – no pain, no discomfort, and, thanks to the DVD goggles I was wearing, I didn’t even have that annoying impulse to swallow constantly, that I normally get when I’m having any kind of dental procedure. I’m not going to claim it was exactly like being at the cinema, because obviously not, and I could still hear some of the noise made by the equipment being used on my teeth, but the goggles WERE a big distraction, and, although I was absolutely sure I wouldn’t be able to relax at all, I did find myself more or less tuning out what was going on around me.
As for what WAS going on, meanwhile, it was basically a case of lasering off the gum above my top teeth, and then filling in the gap created with a temporary composite material (The same stuff fillings are made from). As well as getting rid of the excess gum, this also creates a longer tooth shape: as you can see from my ‘before’ photo, my own teeth are very square, so this procedure has helped give them a slightly more elegant shape: er, if teeth can ever really be described as “elegant”, that is.
Here’s how my smile looked the next day:
Now, bear in mind here that this photo was taken less than 24 hours after the procedure, so the gums are still very red, and you can see that they’ve been bleeding a bit. It’ll take around two weeks for them to heal completely, but, even at this stage, you can already see the difference in my gum line and smile. I have a follow-up appointment in two weeks time, at which point Jamie mentioned possibly taking a little bit more off, to make an even bigger difference – it’s important to let the gum heal properly before that, though, to see if any of the tissue will “drop”, so we’ll see what happens then!
The entire process took just under an hour, which really surprised me, because I’d imagined it would be some kind of long, complex thing that would take half the day. As it turned out, though, the gum contouring was finished before my film was, and I was heading back out to reception, where Terry and Max – who’d had a trip to the park opposite the dentist’s office – were waiting for me, with the intention of taking some quick outfit photos in the leaf-filled streets around the surgery.
Before starting the procedure, Jamie had warned me that my top lip might look a little bit swollen afterwards, due to the anaesthetic. “Great!” I’d thought naively, “I expect that’ll make me look just like Kylie Jenner in my photos: bonus!” Well, yeah, I mean, I guess you COULD say I looked a bit like Kylie Jenner – if Kylie Jenner was 20 years older, and had recently been punched in the face, obviously. If you were being totally honest, though, you’d probably have to say I looked more like a chipmunk, really, thanks to the puffy face I walked out with. “You look like a chipmunk,” confirmed Terry, thus shattering my vague hope that it wasn’t quite as obvious as it had seemed in the mirror. “I take it that’s a NO to outfit photos, then?” Max, meanwhile, took one look at me and then started laughing… which, OK, wasn’t quite the reaction I was hoping for, but, still: early days, huh?
The swelling/numbness lasted for about two hours, during which it was a little bit tricky to eat and drink. (I managed it, though, because it was mac n’ cheese for dinner, and it takes more than a little bit of gum contouring to put me off THAT…) At the time of writing, though, it’s been roughly 24 hours, and although my gums still look a bit red, they feel totally normal again, so it’s really just a case of waiting for them to heal, and then seeing if I need any more contouring done before moving onto the next stage of the smile makeover.
I will, of course, be reporting back soon to let you know how I get on: and, in the meantime, if you’re in the Glasgow area, and are considering gum contouring – or, indeed, any other kind of dental treatment – I’d highly recommend Dentistry on the Square, who’ll give you a free consultation AND a DVD to watch while you’re having your treatment: which, to the mother of a 10 month old, pretty much counts as a day out to me right now…