Cut It Out!
If you have gum disease, professional dental treatment is practically a must to maintain a healthy smile. Gum disease causes your gums to become loose and form "pockets," or gaps, between your teeth and gums. These pockets are a safe haven for plaque bacteria and dental tartar to hide, which only adds to the progression of the disease. As gum disease worsens, pockets can become so deep that they could lead to tooth loss!
Unfortunately, gums affected by periodontal disease don't reattach to teeth on their own. When pockets develop, gum surgery is often necessary to correct the problem. A gingivectomy is a surgical gum disease treatment used to remove diseased gum tissue, helping to reduce pockets and slow down the progression of gum disease.
The Gingivectomy Procedure
While your dentist may perform your gingivectomy procedure, it is usually done by a periodontist or oral surgeon. Prior to the gingivectomy procedure, scaling and root planing is often used to remove bacteria and tartar from below the gum line. The gingivectomy procedure itself typically requires just local anesthesia to numb your gums. Traditionally, a scalpel is used to remove gum tissue, but today, many dentists use laser gingivectomy for less invasive treatment, minimized bleeding and faster healing time. (It's important to note that the gingivectomy cost may range according to the type of gingivectomy procedure performed.) Depending on how much tissue needs to be removed, the gingivectomy procedure can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
Following your gingivectomy procedure, a periodontal dressing will be placed over your gums to protect them while they heal, which stays on for an average of seven to 10 days. During this time, it's important that you follow your dentist's post-surgery guidelines so as to not accidentally remove the dressing or damage your gums. You will most likely only be able to eat soft foods and drink liquids while the dressing is in place. While you can continue practicing your oral hygiene regimen, you should avoid brushing near the surgical area until your dentist tells you it's safe to do so. It may take several weeks for your gums to appear normal again and up to three months for your gums to heal completely.
Does a Gingivectomy Hurt?
Most periodontic procedures aren't painful, but you may feel some discomfort following your gingivectomy procedure. Bleeding gums are also normal for the first day or two. As with any surgical procedure, there is always a minor risk of infection. Your dentist may prescribe you antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection from bacteria entering the bloodstream.