Gingivectomy is the removal of gum tissue (gingiva) by surgery. Gingivoplasty is a type of gum surgery used to reshape healthy gum tissue around teeth. Periodontists typically perform both types of surgery. These dentists specialize in treating gums and the other structures that support teeth.
Gingivectomy first was developed to treat periodontal disease. Today, it is more commonly used to remove overgrown gum tissue and improve the appearance of gums. Gum tissue may need to be removed for two reasons:
Gaps (pockets) have formed between the teeth and gums. This can trap bits of food, harbor colonies of bacteria, and make it difficult to keep the area clean. If the pockets involve only soft tissue, they can be removed by a gingivectomy (trimming of the gums).
There is too much gum tissue around the teeth. Some people don't like how this looks and want to have it removed. It also can make teeth and gums hard to keep clean. In severe cases, this condition can interfere with chewing and speech. Excess growth of gum tissue can be caused by certain medicines. Sometimes there is no apparent cause.
Gingivectomy usually are done with scalpels. They also can be done with electrosurgery or laser units. We use special tools that were designed for gingivectomies which has angled blades to help them get around teeth. Before this procedure, you will receive a local anesthetic shot to numb your gums. The treatment can take from a few minutes to more than an hour. The length of time depends on how much tissue is being removed.