The gum tissue can be very thick, large and cover significant portions of the tooth surface, making the teeth look short. Such a relationship of the gums to the teeth can also impede appropriate oral hygiene measures. This can be related to certain medications, bone that extends too close to the crown of the tooth, tooth malpositioning or crowding, or inflammation due to gum disease.
A gingivectomy is a periodontal procedure that eliminates excess gum tissue. 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. This procedure seeks to improve the positions of the gums, teeth and lips to each other
Functional/Esthetics: To remove excess gum tissue (gingival overgrowth) that has formed as a result of certain drugs such as anti-seizure, anti-hypertensive and organ-transplant medications.
Bone and gum health around the teeth: To shrink deep gum pockets. If this procedure requires some bone recontouring as well, it should be termed “osseous surgery”..
The area to be treated is first thoroughly numbed. The excessive gum tissue is removed with either a scalpel blade, some type of laser or rotary instrument. 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 2-week follow-up appointment is usually needed to confirm proper healing.