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Periodontists are dentists specialized in the treatment of periodontium, or tissues that surround and support the teeth. They are experts in managing dental implants, treating gum diseases, removing gum tissue by gingivectomy, and doing gingivoplasty which is a form of gum surgery to restructure the gum tissue surrounding a tooth.

Why is gingivectomy and gingivoplasty done?

Though originally started as a treatment for periodontal diseases, nowadays these procedures are partly cosmetic also. Gum tissue removal may be required under the following two circumstances:

  • Sometimes empty pockets develop between an individual’s gums and teeth. These spaces may become breeding ground for bacteria, and food particles may get stuck in them. The problem can be rectified by trimming of gums with gingivectomy.
  • The problem can also be cosmetic with excess gum tissue marring the appearance. Extra gum tissue can also lead to non-cosmetic problems like speech impediments and chewing difficulties. The condition, which can sometimes be caused by medicines, will also make cleaning process a bit cumbersome.

Misshapen gums may result from genetic factors, due to some diseases, or could even be the result of some mental trauma. In either of these cases, gingivoplasty may be the answer for cosmetic relief. Gingivoplasty can be done by itself, or in combination with gingivectomy. Sometimes a gum graft is done to increase gum tissue. In such cases, gingivoplasty can be performed together with the graft.

Preparing for the procedure

Through cleaning of teeth in the area is mandatory in preparation for either gingivoplasty or gingivectomy. The bacteria and tartar from the whole area has to be removed and the periodontist will give advice to the patient on how that level of cleanliness can be maintained even after the surgical procedure.

The procedure

Either scalpels or laser units can be used for both gingivoplasty and gingivectomy. There are also angled blades used in these procedures. Besides these, since medical technologies are evolving fast, specialized tools with a high level of precision are also being used now.

Both are done under local anesthesia. Gingivoplasty is a simple and fast procedure and does not take more than a couple of minutes. Gingivectomy, though it is not always a lengthy procedure, can even extend up to an hour depending on the amount of tissue to be removed.

Post surgical care

After gingivoplasty or gingivectomy, there will be a periodontal dressing on the gum for more than a week. Painkillers will be prescribed if necessary, and patients are generally asked to use an antiseptic mouthwash. There will be some dietary restrictions during the period, with emphasis on soft and non-spicy food. The dressing applied on the gum will be soft.

Mouth should be kept meticulously clean during the post-surgical days. Brushing has to be avoided in the area that is bandaged but other areas have to be cleaned with precision. Even after the area is healed and the dressing is off, that portion has to be gently handled, without brushing for a couple of days, and then too using only a very soft brush. Though the gums will appear normal in less than a month, complete healing of the tissues will be affected only in ten to twelve weeks.

Risks involved

Both gingivoplasty and gingivectomy are comparatively risk free procedures. The possible risks are bleeding and some infection, but these happen very rarely, if at all. Normal post-surgical bleeding will be for one to two days and after that there is unlikely to be any bleeding worth its name.

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