One of the important factors to consider in optimal smile aesthetics is the gingival shape and contour. It is a subtle characteristic of the smile that is very important for the end result of orthodontic treatment.

Gingival shape refers to the curvature of the gingival margin of the tooth. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the gingival shape of the mandibular incisors and the maxillary laterals should exhibit a symmetrical half-oval or half-circular shape. Also, the gingival zenith is also an important factor in smile aesthetics. It is defined as the topmost point of the gingival tissue. Ideally, the gingival zenith of the maxillary lateral incisors and the mandibular incisors should match with their longitudinal axis

Gingival contour refers to the thickness and shape of the margins of the gingiva to the crown of the tooth. Ideal gingival contour is characterized by sharp interdental papillae and equally tapered gingival margins at the cervical margin of the teeth. In the final outcome of an ideal smile, the gingival margins should be in symmetric level of the margins of the central incisors, a lower location of the lateral incisors and have a higher and symmetric level on the canines.

Nowadays, recontouring gingival shape and contour is a rather simple and fast procedure. It is accomplished using a diode laser. Diode lasers, compared to CO2 or erbium-YAG lasers, are least expensive and are relatively small so it can be used easily at multiple chairs. Also, the diode laser doesn’t cut hard tissue, so there is no risk of damage to the teeth. Lastly, after recontouring with a diode laser, no dressing is required since there is no bleeding. The laser coagulates, sterilizes and seals as it incises, thus creating a “biological dressing.”

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