Gingivectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing diseased gums and tissue. Doctors may recommend it to reduce the risk of further infection, pain, and bleeding. A person can also have a gingivectomy for cosmetic reasons.

Gingivectomy can treat gingivitis, gum enlargement, and other gum problems. It can also modify the appearance of a smile or for other cosmetic reasons.

This article discusses the gingivectomy procedure, pictures, what to expect, and more.

A person smiling after a gingivectomy. Share on Pinterest
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Gingivectomy is a type of surgery that involves removing gum tissue at the gum margin.

A common reason to have this procedure is to treat severe gingivitis, where bacteria infiltrate the gum tissue and cause inflammation.

However, some people may choose to have a gingivectomy for cosmetic reasons. A gingivectomy can change the appearance of the gums and smile.

Gingivoplasty vs. gingivectomy

A gingivectomy is similar to another procedure called a gingivoplasty. Sometimes, people have these procedures at the same time.

  • Gingivectomy: This is the removal of diseased gum tissue. A person may have it done for medical purposes or osmetic reasons.
  • Gingivoplasty: This involves shaping healthy gum tissue, often to change the appearance of the gums, improve a person’s smile, or prevent cavities.
Learn more

Learn about other dental surgeries similar to a gingivectomy.

This section looks at various images from before and after a gingivectomy. Surgeons may pair other dental procedures, such as crowns and veneers, with the gingivectomy.

There are two main types of gingivectomy: scalpel and laser.

Scalpel

A scalpel gingivectomy is the most traditional and commonly used procedure.

It involves cutting through the tissue with a scalpel to remove the diseased tissue.

Although it is the most popular option for this procedure, it can be challenging because the surgeons need to make small incisions deep in the tissue.

Pros

  • This technique is more widespread, and more dentists can perform it.
  • It avoids lateral tissue damage.

Cons

  • It can be less precise than a laser gingivectomy.
  • Post-procedural bleeding may occur.

Laser

A laser gingivectomy is better at removing gingival tissue but requires more precision and skill to ensure no damage occurs.

With advancing technologies, laser gingivectomies are becoming more commonplace. However, they require specialized equipment and additional training, so not every dentist’s office or surgeon will offer them.

Pros

  • The laser cauterizes the tissue; therefore, most people do not require sutures.
  • According to one study, healing is often faster with this technique.
  • Lasers tend to be more precise than scalpels.
  • People taking blood thinners can have this type because the cauterization stops any bleeding.

Cons

  • It is typically more expensive.
  • Some insurance companies do not cover laser gingivectomies.
  • The procedure requires extra training and equipment, so not all dentists can perform them.

A dentist may recommend that a person undergo a gingivectomy if they:

Some people who do not like their smile because there is too much gum on display (excessive gingival display) may elect to have a gingivectomy.

Having a gingivectomy to change a smile is a cosmetic procedure, so a person’s insurance may not cover it.

Before having a gingivectomy, a person must prepare by eating a nutritious diet and getting plenty of rest before the procedure.

The dental surgeon will also advise people to quit smoking where possible or at least refrain from smoking in the months before their procedure, avoid drinking alcohol, and stop taking any medications that may inhibit healing.

People should brush and floss their teeth daily to remove the bacteria that cause gum disease.

Learn more

Find out how to give up smoking.

A laser gingivectomy can take around 16 minutes, but a scalpel gingivectomy may take longer. Times will vary depending on the type and the amount of tissue involved.

If the dentist needs to remove a lot of gum tissue, they may space the procedure over several sessions, allowing the gums to heal between appointments.

A person may undergo a gingivectomy procedure as an outpatient or inpatient.

Surgeons typically only use local anesthesia when performing a gingivectomy so people can drive themselves home after their procedure.

It is important to change the dressings if a healthcare professional advises it. People should avoid drinking warm or hot beverages after surgery and only eat soft foods for about a week after surgery.

Can I brush my teeth after a gingivectomy?

Most people will only need to brush the chewing surfaces of their affected teeth after a gingivectomy.

This is to ensure that they do not disturb the bandages or dressings.

Risks of a gingivectomy include minor pain and discomfort after the procedure.

The main risk is infection. People who are more susceptible to infections may need to take antibiotics before and after their gingivectomy to prevent infection.

They should also adhere to a strict oral hygiene regimen before and after the procedure. A dentist or doctor may recommend a person regularly brush and floss their teeth to prevent the buildup of bacteria.

Feel free to ask the surgeon any questions about the procedure. They will be able to outline what is going to happen during the gingivectomy and explain any risks of the procedure beforehand.

Gingivectomies permanently change a person’s gum line, which means their gums will not grow back after this procedure.

Surgeons often perform a gingivectomy to treat periodontal disease, which can cause infection of the gums and bone loss around the teeth.

A gingivectomy can reduce or eliminate chronic gum irritation and improve oral hygiene.

This section answers some commonly asked questions about gingivectomies.

Do gums grow back after a gingivectomy?

Gum tissue does not grow back after a gingivectomy. It can take up to 6 months for them to heal completely.

How painful is a gingivectomy?

The pain a person experiences after a gingivectomy may depend on the anesthetic they receive.

With an anesthetic, the person should only feel the sharp scratch of the injection.

People may experience soreness and discomfort for a while after the procedure, but this is usual, and most people can manage it with over-the-counter painkillers.

What’s the average cost of a gingivectomy?

The cost of a gingivectomy varies.

A person’s insurance is likely to cover at least some of the cost for a medical gingivectomy. However, if someone chooses to have an elective gingivectomy for cosmetic reasons, they will likely have to pay out of pocket.

Some insurance providers also do not cover laser gingivectomies. A person should contact their insurance company to find out what they do and do not cover.

A gingivectomy is a surgical procedure that involves a surgeon making a small incision in the gum tissue and removing excess any excess tissue.

This is typically an outpatient procedure for people with gum disease, but a surgeon can perform it for cosmetic reasons.