The gum tissue can be very thick and enlarged, thereby covering the tooth surface and making the teeth look short. This can happen because of medications, bone that extends too close to the surface of the teeth, or inflammation due to gum disease.
A gingivectomy is a periodontal procedure that eliminates excess gum tissue. The term “gingivectomy” is derived from Latin:
- “gingiva” means gum tissue,
- “-ectomy” means to remove.
The following are some reasons a gingivectomy might be needed:
Cosmetics: To make the teeth look normal in size when the gum is covering too much of it. A gingivectomy will make the teeth look longer and more proportional.
Functional/Esthetics: To remove excess gum tissue (gingival overgrowth) that has formed as a result of certain drugs, such as anti-seizure and organ-transplant medications, and certain high blood pressure medications.
Bone and gum health around the teeth: To shrink deep gum pockets. This procedure might require some bone work as well.
We first will anesthetize the area(s) to be treated. The excess gum tissue is removed with a scalpel blade. In some cases no sutures (stitches) are required. The surgical site will be sore for 24-48 hours, and medication will be provided to alleviate any discomfort experienced. Several follow-up appointments are usually needed to ensure proper healing.