What is a gingivectomy?
A gingivectomy is a surgical procedure to remove excess or overgrown gum tissue. It is most commonly performed to treat gum disease (periodontitis), but it can also be used to improve the appearance of a gummy smile.
Who is a candidate for a gingivectomy?
You may be a candidate for a gingivectomy if you have:
- Gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis)
- A gummy smile
- Periodontal pockets (areas where your gums have pulled away from your teeth)
- Braces or other orthodontic appliances
- Tooth malposition (the position of your tooth results in excess gum tissue)
- Certain medications can result in excess gum tissue, too. Examples include amlodipine for high blood pressure or cyclosporine as an immunosuppressant. If you develop puffy, overgrown gums after starting a particular medication, be sure to tell your healthcare provider. They may be able to switch medications or change your dosage.
What are the benefits of a gingivectomy?
Gingivectomy offers a number of benefits, including:
- Reduces gum inflammation and bleeding
- Improves gum health and oral hygiene
- Decreases the risk of tooth loss
- Improves the appearance of a gummy smile
What are the risks of a gingivectomy?
Gingivectomy also carries some risks, such as:
- Nerve damage
- Changes in tooth sensitivity
What happens during a gingivectomy procedure?
Gingivectomy is an outpatient procedure, so you will be able to go home the same day. The procedure usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete.
Before the procedure, your surgeon will give you local anesthesia to numb your gums. They may also give you sedation medication to help you relax.
During the procedure, the surgeon will remove the excess gum tissue using a scalpel or laser. Once the excess tissue is removed, they may stitch the gums back together.
What can I expect after a gingivectomy?
After the procedure, you can expect some bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. Your surgeon will give you a list of post-operative instructions to help you manage these side effects.
Most people can return to work or school within a few days of gingivectomy. However, you should avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for at least two weeks.
How long will it take for my gums to heal after a gingivectomy?
On average, it takes about one week for your gums to heal following gingivectomy.
How can I take care of myself during recovery?
After gingivectomy, your surgeon will give you a list of detailed post-operative instructions. You should follow these guidelines closely. Here are some basic recommendations for gingivectomy aftercare:
- Keep the surgical site clean. While you’ll want to avoid brushing too hard, you’ll still need to clean the surgical area. Brush gently and soak the area with an antibacterial mouthwash. Brush and floss all other teeth normally.
- Take all medications as directed. Your surgeon may prescribe antibiotics or pain medication. Be sure to take these exactly as directed. You can also take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Use an ice pack. Place a cold compress on your outer jaw to help reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Stick with soft foods. Avoid hard, crunchy foods for at least one week. Instead, choose foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, cooked veggies and scrambled eggs.
- Avoid touching the surgical area. Though it may be tempting, don’t touch the surgical area with your fingers or tongue. This can disturb the healing process.
When can I go back to work or school?
Most people can return to work or school in a day or two. But keep activity light. If your job requires a lot of physical labor, you may want to stay home for at least three days.
Be sure you avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for at least 48 hours. An elevated heart rate could cause more pain, bleeding and swelling.
Can you eat after gingivectomy?
Yes, you can eat after a gingivectomy procedure. But to avoid discomfort, you should wait until the numbness from the anesthesia wears off. Start with liquids or soft foods. After a few days, introduce more solid foods as your comfort level allows
Contact us today at Sbenati Dentistry to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you with your dental needs. https://calendly.com/sbenatidentistry/interview
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