Gingivectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove excess or overgrown gum tissues. It can be performed for therapeutic and aesthetic purposes, such as removing enlarged gums caused by periodontal disease or fixing a gummy smile.

Your periodontist will trim and contour the gums to remove infected or diseased tissue and reshape the gums to improve aesthetics. The recovery time varies depending on the extent of tissue removed but generally takes 7 to 10 days. In this blog post, we will discuss what gingivectomy involves and what to expect during the recovery.

What’s Gingivictomy?

Gingivectomy is a surgical procedure in which excess or overgrown gum tissue is removed. The procedure is used to treat gingival enlargement caused by gum disease (periodontal disease) to allow better access to teeth for cleaning.

It can also be used cosmetically for gummy smile correction by removing excess gum tissue and exposing more of the tooth’s surface. The procedure is performed by an oral surgeon or periodontist.

Excess or overgrown gum tissue creates areas known as false pockets or pseudo-pocket, which can trap food particles and bacteria. These pockets are a breeding ground for bacteria and can lead to further periodontal damage if not treated.

Gingival overgrowth can also cause a gummy smile, where teeth appear too short or uneven, making the smile look less appealing. In these cases, a gingivectomy may be recommended to remove the overgrown gum tissue, eliminate the pockets, and fix the gummy smile.

Who’s a Candidate for Gingivectomy?

Gingivectomy is recommended for people with excess or overgrown gum tissue caused by:

  • Inflammation or irritation due to poor oral hygiene and gum disease
  • Crooked or crowded teeth, which can cause the gums to become overgrown in certain areas
  • Physical irritation by braces or other orthodontic appliances
  • Hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy
  • Vitamin C deficiencies
  • Certain medications, such as anticonvulsants or calcium channel blockers
  • Gummy smiles, where the gum tissue covers too much of the teeth
  • Genetic predisposition to excessive gum tissue

Gingivectomy can also be used to reduce the depth of periodontal pockets in patients with severe periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. The procedure improves visibility and accessibility for deep cleaning of teeth, which involves complete plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) removal and smoothing of the roots.

Gummy smile gingivectomy
Gingivectomy can be used to fix a gummy smile.

How is the Gingivectomy Surgery Performed?

At the beginning of your procedure, your periodontist will numb the area with a local anesthetic.

Your periodontist will then use a scalpel or laser device to trim away any excess gum tissue and reshape the gums to give your smile a more even appearance. Scaling and root planing may also be performed to remove plaque and tartar that has built up on your teeth.

After your procedure is completed, the area may be covered with a dressing (a soft putty-like substance) to protect the area and promote healing. Your periodontist may prescribe an antibiotic to help clear up any infection.

The entire process takes less than an hour, depending on the complexity of your procedure. Regular follow-up appointments with your periodontist are essential for monitoring the results and progress of your treatment.

Gingivectomy with Scalpel or Laser?

Gingivectomy with a scalpel is the traditional method. Your periodontist will use a scalpel to carefully and precisely remove the excess gum tissue. The downside of this method is that it can cause excessive bleeding and can be quite uncomfortable for the patient.

Gingivectomy with a laser is the more modern approach. Laser offers several advantages, including less invasive, less bleeding, faster healing time, and minimal postoperative discomfort and swelling.

When performed by a skilled periodontist, both procedures can be successful in providing a more aesthetically pleasing smile. Your periodontist will discuss the best treatment option for you based on your individual needs.

What to Expect After the Procedure?

It’s normal to experience some pain, swelling, and bleeding in the first few days following gingivectomy surgery. Your periodontist will provide medications to relieve pain and swelling. Additionally, you may need to adjust your diet for a few days after the procedure as well. Eat soft, cool foods and avoid anything that could irritate the area.

You can usually resume most of your normal activities in a few days, but vigorous physical activity should be avoided for at least seven days. You’ll also need to brush your teeth very carefully and avoid brushing near the surgical area. Your periodontist may also recommend using an antimicrobial mouthwash.

Follow your periodontist’s postoperative instructions to ensure a successful recovery. Regular follow-up appointments with your periodontist are essential to ensure that the healing process is progressing as expected.

How Long Does it Take for Your Gums to Heal?

It usually takes 7 to 10 days for the gums to heal completely after a gingivectomy. However, every patient is different and healing time can vary depending on individual factors like age and how well you follow post-operative instructions.

What Are the Risks of Gingivectomy?

Any surgical procedure carries some risks, including gingivectomy. Complications may include:

  • Infection
  • Post-operative pain that doesn’t improve with painkillers
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Swelling that doesn’t improve
  • Gum recession
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Abscesses

Discuss the potential risks of this procedure with your periodontist before having a gingivectomy. Your periodontist will be able to tell you what steps can be taken to minimize the risk and ensure a safe, successful outcome.

Gingivectomy Recovery Tips

The key to a successful recovery after a gingivectomy is to follow your periodontist’s instructions. Here are some tips to help ensure that you have an uncomplicated recovery:

  • Take the pain medication prescribed by your periodontist
  • Brush teeth twice daily but avoid brushing near the surgical area
  • Don’t smoke or use any other tobacco products until you have healed completely.
  • Rest and avoid strenuous physical activities
  • Eat soft, nutritious foods and avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that was operated on
  • Avoid eating crunchy or chewy foods for at least a week after the procedure
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash as instructed by your periodontist

By following these tips and keeping all follow-up appointments with your periodontist, you should be able to enjoy a successful recovery after a gingivectomy. Contact your dentist if you experience any signs of infection or increased pain.


Gingivectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove excess or overgrown gum tissue. It can be used to remove overgrown gums caused by periodontal disease and fix gummy smiles.

The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and can be done using a scalpel or laser. Both methods have advantages, so discuss with your periodontist to determine which method is best for you.

Regular follow-up appointments are essential for monitoring the results of your treatment. With proper care and maintenance, gingivectomy can result in a more aesthetically pleasing smile and improved oral health.

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