The attractiveness of a smile is related to the amount of gums around the teeth, much the way that a frame surrounds a photo. A cosmetically attractive smile has an even, symmetrical gum line that reveals the teeth without exposing the tooth roots. However, excess gums around the teeth can create a “gummy smile,” detracting from its appearance.

Dr. Israel Puterman performs gum recontouring procedures to give patients more aesthetically appealing smiles. The procedure sculpts the gums and, in some cases, the underlying bone to uncover the full surface of the teeth. Dr. Puterman may also use gum recontouring to assist patients who have tooth fractures or cavities below the gum line. By reshaping the gums, he can give the patient’s general dentist better access to sites for treatment.

Dr. Puterman is a periodontal specialist and an experienced surgeon with over ten years in private practice. Patients in his care receive personal attention, gentle and effective treatment, and the benefits of the latest techniques and technology. Whether you have been referred by your general dentist to his practice or are seeking help with a cosmetic concern, you can expect an excellent experience and a high-quality outcome.

Before & After Gallery

The Purpose of Gum Recontouring

Excess gums can cause several problems:

  • They can give teeth an abnormally small appearance, making the teeth look stunted in their development.
  • Excess gums can create an unaesthetic appearance even if the teeth are straight, healthy, and in alignment.
  • Patients who have excess gums may feel self-conscious when they smile, speak, or eat.
  • Gums that cover the teeth too much is often sensitive, inflamed and bleeds easily when brushed or flossed. This is not only unaesthetic, but also unhealthy.

Dr. Puterman uses gum recontouring to help patients change the gum line and reveal more of the tooth’s structure. The procedure is a well-established and relatively quick solution to a gummy smile. Patients whose general dentist has recommended dental veneers often choose to have gum recontouring as a complimentary procedure as the combination can give them even better-looking results.

While many of Dr. Puterman’s patients have gum recontouring for aesthetic purposes, your dentist may also refer you to his office for restorative reasons. If you have a tooth fracture or a cavity below the gum line, gum recontouring can reduce tissue in the area of the problem. This will give your dentist access to the site for treatment and, if necessary, make it easier to place a long-lasting dental restoration.

How Gum Recontouring Works

Dr. Puterman often treats patients who have received gum recontouring at another practice but who didn’t get the results that they wanted. This is common when a laser is used for more than the simplest situations. Fortunately, careful diagnosis before treatment can help him provide a more effective outcome.

Gum recontouring patients will begin with a comprehensive consultation and examination. In particular, Dr. Puterman will determine whether a gummy smile is due to excess gums alone or a combination of excess gums and an underlying bone structure. Treatment for each case is different, and choosing the right approach will significantly improve the results.

If you just have excess gums, gum recontouring tends to be a bit simpler. Dr. Puterman will remove the tissue and leave behind a natural-looking gum line. You may not even require stitches afterwards.

If you have both excess gums and bone, Dr. Puterman will use surgical techniques to shave down the bone and to recontour the gum line. Sometimes, even this can be accomplished without stitches.

As a periodontist, Dr. Puterman has extensive training in procedures related to tooth-supporting structures. He will apply this background in the evaluation of your gum line and the underlying bone, and he will conduct the surgery expertly, conservatively, and efficiently.

What Patients Can Expect with Gum Recontouring

Dr. Puterman’s patients tend to report that gum recontouring is a gentle and manageable experience. You will be able to see an aesthetic difference immediately after the procedure, and the change should be a permanent improvement.

During the surgery, Dr. Puterman will revise the gum line and, if necessary, shave down excess bone. He will promote your comfort by using PiezoSurgery instrument (rather than a more standard dental drill) for this process. This is a much less invasive approach and can help you heal faster following the procedure.

After gum recontouring, you can expect minimal discomfort and will likely be able to return to work or normal activities the next day. If you are having the procedure in combination with another aesthetic treatment, such as dental veneers, you may need to wait a few months before getting this restoration from your general dentist. If you are having gum recontouring so that your general dentist can access a tooth fracture or cavity site, you may need to wait about six weeks. Dr. Puterman can give you more details specific to your needs, as recovery times and follow-up treatment will vary.

Sometimes several teeth need treatment  


Sometimes it’s just one tooth that needs evening out to match the adjacent teeth


If you want to revise a gummy smile in a natural-looking and attractive way, explore your options with gum recontouring. Patients can schedule an appointment with Dr. Puterman online or by phone at (301) 652-0939.