According to a large scale oral health survey of Singaporean adults conducted by the Health Promotion Board in 2003, 85% of the adults examined had some form of gum disease. A gingivectomy may be performed to heal the effects of periodontal disease or to correct a gum condition involving the structure of teeth. It is one of a few procedures that can help reverse periodontal issues. Read on to learn more about the procedure, how it is done and if it may be a possible treatment option to return your smile and gums to tip-top shape.
Gingivectomy Surgery: What You Need To Know
The procedure is the total removal of a portion of gingiva (gum) from in and around a tooth or teeth in order to treat gum disease or to lengthen the height or width of a tooth or a section of teeth. It can be performed by a general dentist who has training in periodontal surgery. The procedure is more likely to be done by a periodontist. An article from medical and healthcare portal - human - defines a periodontist as a dentist who specialises in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of gum infections, the reconstruction of gum-related cosmetic problems and the placement of dental implants.
Another type of periodontal surgery is called a gingivoplasty. A gingivoplasty is different than a gingivectomy as the former only involves a partial removal of the gums (plasty). The latter removes an entire portion of a gum section.
Gingivectomy is the treatment of choice for chronic gum disease when the condition cannot be treated with antibiotics, scaling and root planning, according to this Health-Tourism.com article on the gingivectomy procedure. The diseased tissue is trimmed and removed, the remaining gums are reattached in and around the teeth by sutures (stitches), and the area is cleaned with saline and special rinses. A local anaesthetic is used to keep the patient comfortable during the procedure.
After the procedure is completed, a surgical dressing, or pack, is placed in and around the teeth and gums. A temporary protective covering is placed over the suture to aid in tissue healing. One quadrant of the mouth is operated on in one session. If the severity of periodontal disease means that all the quadrants need to be treated, the entire procedure may take one to two months.
Most patients can return to a normal oral care regimen in less than a month after the procedure. Routine check-ups with a dentist or periodontist will ensure that the surgery is a success. The dental professional who performed the surgery will probably want to follow up with visits every three months, and then with at least twice-yearly preventive health visits to clean in and around the surgical site.