What is a gingivectomy?

Gingivectomy is a procedure that includes removing the diseased gingival tissue, mostly in the treatment of gum disease. In many cases root planing, scaling and antibiotics are not effective enough. In those cases, gingivectomy might be the right solution. If all of the non-surgical procedures haven’t helped the course of the gum disease, this surgical procedure is the next step. It is usually done by a periodontist or an oral surgeon. It is a very common procedure and it usually provides very good results.

What is the purpose of gingivectomy?

The main reason why this procedure is done is to remove the inflamed gum tissue that is forming the periodontal pockets. This diseased tissue is a very important factor in the treatment of the periodontal disease. Once the tissue is removed, the dentist will be able to completely gain access and visibility to the roots that are affected with the condition and properly remove all of the bacteria. This way, the depth of the periodontal pockets will be reduced and the gum disease will be under control.

Gum disease is, in fact, a progressive condition that is caused by bacteria. If the disease is not treated in time it might lead to loss of the teeth. The pathogen bacteria that cause this condition tend to cause inflammation of the gum tissue and bone tissue, which results with deep periodontal pockets. Very often the conservative, non-surgical measures do not completely remove the bacteria, calculus and inflamed tissue. That is why the disease keeps on progressing.

How is the procedure performed?

There are several ways to perform gingivectomy. It can be a simple surgical one, electrosurgical, chemosurgical, or the latest advancement in dentistry- laser gingivectomy.

The procedure starts with conventional root planing and scaling to remove as much bacteria and diseased tissue as possible. After that, a local anesthetic is used to numb the gums. There are dentists that only practice the surgical gingivectomy and they use a surgical scalpel to remove the gum tissue. If the procedure is performed with a laser, it is faster, there is less bleeding and the tissue heals much faster. Other advantages of the laser are that it provides a good antibacterial effect, the patient doesn’t feel any pain, and there are fewer complications. After the gingivectomy, the gums have to be protected with a surgical dressing, that protects them and helps the healing. The periodontal dressing stays for 7 to 10 days. During the recovery, patients need to provide good oral hygiene and wash their mouth with antibacterial mouthwash. Patients are mostly allowed to eat soft food.

What is a gingivoplasty?

Gingivoplasty is also a surgical procedure, very similar to gingivectomy. The difference between the two is mostly in the objective. Gingivoplasty is in most cases a cosmetic procedure, that is done to improve the look of a person’s gums. This procedure also can be done right after gingivectomy for the same purpose. There are people that are just not happy with how their gums look, so they decide to have them reshaped. Some of them have sufficient gum tissue that has to be removed, while others don’t have enough. For the second type, dentists use a special gum graft. Different gingival deformities are another reason to undergo this procedure.

What is the purpose of gingivoplasty?

The main purpose is that the patient gets a whole new, natural appearance of his gums and smile. If there is an excessive growth of gingival tissue that can cause many problems. First of all, those people have a hard time properly cleaning these areas, and there are higher chances of plaque buildup. In other words, this condition can lead to periodontal pockets and periodontal disease. Also, these patients have a hard time accepting their appearance, which is usually the main reason why they choose gingivoplasty. Other reasons include genetic gingival defects and malformations, crown lengthening, trauma and more.

How is the procedure performed?

The procedure is almost exactly the same as the gingivectomy, only the objective is different. The patient gets numbed, in order to avoid pain. Gingivoplasty can be done by a surgical scalpel, electrosurgery or laser. The procedure can last from minutes up to an hour depending on the number of teeth and the complexity of the case. After the procedure, the wounds are protected with a periodontal dressing that stays in the mouth up to 10 days. Just like with the gingivectomy, the patient has to provide a good oral hygiene and wash the mouth with antibacterial mouthwash. The dentist will give you advice on what you are allowed to do, and how to do it. They will also schedule regular checkups to control the progress after the procedure.