You may need surgery for severe
gum disease (periodontitis)
if it cannot be cured with
antibiotics or root planing and scaling. A
gingivectomy removes and reshapes loose, diseased gum tissue to get rid of
pockets between the teeth and gums. A gum specialist (periodontist) or oral
surgeon often will do the procedure.
The doctor will start by
numbing your gums with a
local anesthetic. He or she may use a
laser to remove loose gum tissue.
removing the gum tissue, the doctor may put a temporary putty over your gum
line. This will protect your gums while they heal. You can eat soft foods and
drink cool or slightly warm liquids while the putty is in place and your gums
What To Expect After Surgery
You can return to your normal
activities after the anesthetic wears off. It usually takes a few days or weeks
for the gums to heal. The contour
or shape of your gums may change.
Most gum surgeries are fairly simple and are not too
uncomfortable. You can take ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or
acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to reduce pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
After a gingivectomy, it will
be easier for you to keep your teeth and gums clean.
Why It Is Done
A gingivectomy is necessary when the
gums have pulled away from the teeth, creating deep pockets. The pockets make
it hard to clean away
plaque. Gingivectomy is usually done before gum
disease has damaged the bone supporting your teeth.
How Well It Works
If you maintain good dental care
after surgery, a gingivectomy is likely to help stop gum disease. Your gums
should become pink and healthy again.
Gum surgery can introduce harmful bacteria into the
bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of infection. You may need to take
antibiotics before and after surgery if you have a
condition that puts you at high risk for a severe
infection or if infections are particularly dangerous for you. You
may need to take antibiotics if you:
Have certain heart problems that make
it dangerous for you to get a heart infection called
Had recent major surgeries or
have man-made body parts, such as an artificial hip or heart
What To Think About
Gingivectomy may help keep gum disease from
further damaging your gum tissue, teeth, and bones by helping you to clean
better around and between your teeth. If bones are damaged, it is more likely
that you will lose your teeth.
Gum disease usually will progress if
you do not brush and floss regularly after surgery or if you continue to use
To promote healing, stop all use of tobacco. Smoking
or using spit tobacco reduces your ability to fight infection of your gums
and delays healing. To learn more, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Regular follow-up with your dentist is
important. If your gum disease gets worse, you may need a different type of
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.