Dual Board-Certified Specialist...
Jin Y. Kim, DDS, MPH, MS

Periodontal Plastic Surgery...

Periodontal Plastic Surgery is a term that was embraced by the American Academy of Periodontology in the mid-1990s, and it describes a number of modern day surgical procedures, carried out in everyday periodontal practices, that aim to enhance one's cosmetic appearance that relates to the gums, teeth and artificial tooth replacements. 


Cosmetic dentistry isn't simply getting pearly white teeth with bleaching, and porcelain restorations. Let's look at some options.



Gummy Smiles - too much gum display


You may have asked your Periodontist about procedures to improve a 'gummy' smile because your teeth appear short. Your teeth may actually be the proper lengths, but they're covered with too much gum tissue. To correct this, your periodontist performs cosmetic crown lengthening procedure.




                                     BEFORE                                                          AFTER

Patient - Elizabeth: Actual clinical case treated by Dr. Jin Y. Kim in 2002



During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even your gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile.



                              BEFORE                                                                 AFTER

 Patient - John: Actual clinical case treated by Dr. Jin Y. Kim in 2000



Your dentist or periodontist may also recommend crown lengthening to make a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure possible. Perhaps your tooth is decayed, broken below the gum line, or has insufficient tooth structure for a restoration, such as a crown or bridge. Crown lengthening adjusts the gum and bone level to expose more of the tooth so it can be restored.



Gingival Recession Defects - too little gum, too much tooth



J.L. has a localized area of gum defect where an unesthetic bridge was placed. The bridge was replaced, and the recession defect grafted. IMage on the right is a 9 year follow up. (Original surgery in 1999 - Restorative Dentistry by Dr. Mihye Choi, Los Angeles, CA)


Gum Recession is a common problem brought on by periodontal disease, poor care, harsh brushing habits, and non-ideal bite relationships. Recession can indeed be unsightly, cause sensitivity of the teeth and may be more vulnerable to cavities.


A simple surgical procedure known as 'connective tissue graft' or 'root coverage procedure' can correct this lesion by grafting of the area with the person’s own gum tissue, often covering the exposed root surfaces completely.


 John has had recession worsened after orthodontic treatment. A simple root coverage procedure has returned the original shape and color of the gums immaculately.



Disfigured gums/bone structures around teeth/implant


The normal function of soft tissue and bone in the human jaw is to support the teeth. Once teeth are lost due to disease or trauma, the jaw bone disfigures as it shrinks. A variety of surgical options are available to rebuild and reconstruct jawbone and soft tissue to regain the natural, healthy look and feel.




Tammy's reconstruction involved surgical recoinstruction of the reduced ridge as well as new dental restorations (crown and bridge). Restorative dentistry done at UCLA School of Dentistry by a 3rd year dental student.




    Cosmetic ridge augmentation adjacent to an existing dental bridge (top-before, below-after).





What are the benefits of these procedures?


Whether you have periodontal plastic surgery to improve function or esthetics, patients often receive the benefits of both: a beautiful new smile and improved periodontal health - your keys to smiling, eating and speaking with comfort and confidence.