According to the American Dental Association nearly 47.2 percent of Americans over 30 have some form of periodontal disease (also known as gum disease). A gingivectomy may be performed to heal the effects of periodontal disease or to correct a gum condition involving the structures around the 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.
What Is It?
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. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) defines a periodontist as a dentist with specialized training in the treatment of gums and gum conditions
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.
How Is a Gingivectomy Performed?
Surgeries are completed with a surgical scalpel; however, in some instances a low-frequency laser may be employed instead, according to Romanian Journal of Morphology and Embryology. 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 anesthetic 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. This dressing is left in place for about a week. Swishing with an antibacterial mouthwash can help in the healing process.
What Care Is Required Post-Gingivectomy?
Most patients can return to a normal oral care regimen in less than a month after the procedure. Routine checkups 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 at least a twice yearly preventive health visit to clean in and around the surgical site.