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A Patient Guide to Gingivoplasty

Gingivectomy (gum trimming) refers to the surgical removal of gum (gingiva) tissue. Typically, gingivoplasty is a special procedure used to reshape healthy gum tissue to better support teeth. As you may be aware, periodontists specialize in treating gum disorders. Therefore, if you need this type of procedure, you will have to visit a periodontist.

Gingivoplasty: Why is Procedure Performed?

Initialy, Gingivectomies were used to treat gum disease. In modern times, it is usually used to make gums look more attractive. This includes reshaping gums that are malformed, as well as reducing gum mass in certain areas. In some cases, gingivectomy will also be combined with gum grafting to add gum tissue to areas that need it. As you may be aware, excess gum tissue can create pockets, or gaps between teeth. If food gets caught in these areas, it can lead to a buildup of bacteria. As you amy be aware, it is often difficult to keep these areas clean.

Even if excess gum tissue is not interfering with the spaces between your teeth, it can still look very unattractive. In some cases, this extra tissue can make it harder to keep your mouth clean, as well as interfere with chewing and talking. Depending on your situation, excess gum growth may be caused by the usage of certain medications, as well as genetic factors and injuries. Or, there may be no apparent reason for excess gum growth.

Gingivoplasty: Patient Concerns to be Addressed

Prior to surgery, your dentist will make sure that all plaque and tartar are removed from your teeth. This also includes the pockets around them. As may be expected, your periodontist will also give you instructions regarding how to keep your gums clean and healthy once the surgery is performed.

Gingivoplasty: How is Procedure Performed?

Before your periodontist starts the procedure, the surgical site will be made numb. Depending on your situation, the procedure may only take a few minutes, or may take longer than an hour. While many gingivectomies and gingivoplasties are done with scalpels, your dentist may also decide to use lasers or electrosurgery machines.

Gingivoplasty: Post-Operative Concerns

Once the gum tissue is removed or reshaped, the site will be covered with a periodontal dressing. This bandage will remain in place for a week to 10 days. As you may be aware, a periodontal dressing is soft and moldable like clay. While the bandage is in place, you will need to stay on a soft, bland diet. You should also avoid crunchy foods as much as possible. IN some cases, you may also need pain medicine and an antiseptic mouthwash.

Even though your gums will be healing, it is very important to keep your mouth clean. You will be able to brush and floss other parts of your mouth as normal. Typically, you will also be able to gently brush your teeth while the periodontal pack is in place. Once the bandage is removed, you can also resume gentle flossing. In some cases, your gums may bleed while flossing after the dressing is removed. It will take 3 - 4 weeks for your gums to take on their normal color, and 2 - 3 months for the tissue to fully heal.

Gingivoplasty: Perils of Disease

Even though infection and bleeding may occur, there are no significant risks associated with gingivectomies. Typically, both excessive bleeding and infection are fairly rare. While your gums may ooze blood for 48 hours, they should stop after that.

You should notify you dentist immediately if bleeding is excessive, or does not stop, or you notice swelling or discharge at the surgical site. In addition, if you notice neck swelling, or below your jaw, it is important to notify your dentist immediately. While each person as a different tolerance level for pain, you should also let your dentist know if the pain medications are not working. It is also very important to alert your periodontist if the bandage becomes loose or displaced.