The gum tissue can be very thick and large covering the tooth surface 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 treats for a “gummy smile” by eliminating 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, making 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 of gum tissue is removed either with a scalpel blade and sometimes some rotary instruments or a laser. In most cases, no sutures (stitches) are required. The surgical sites will be sore for 24-48 hours, and medication will be provided to alleviate any discomfort experienced. A one week follow-up appointment is usually needed to ensure proper healing.