Gingivectomy is the surgical removal of gum tissue using various dental tools such as a blade, a laser, or other surgical instruments. 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 and calculus. A gingivectomy is usually done before gum disease has caused bone loss. Rather, the idea is to remove gum excess gum tissue only. The procedure involves removing and reshaping loose, diseased gum tissue to get rid of pockets between the teeth and gums. By removing the extra gum tissue, gingivectomy provides access to remove calculus and thoroughly smooth the tooth roots. Although gingivectomy was initially developed to treat periodontal disease, it is now common in cosmetic dentistry. It is used to remove overgrown gum tissue and improve the appearance of the gums.
Sometimes if permanent teeth erupt slowly into the mouth, gum tissue can cover more of the tooth than it should. This finding is called altered passive eruption or otherwise known as a “gummy smile.” Oftentimes, this gum tissue cannot attach to the enamel or the outer layer of teeth so deep pockets are noted without bone loss. A gingivectomy is often done in children and teenagers who have not completed growing. The extra gum tissue is removed to make space to allow proper hygiene and prevent further gum disease. Furthermore, this extra gum tissue is removed to make space for orthodontic braces. Failure to remove this excess tissue often causes inflammation and bleeding of the gum tissue and can progress to more periodontal destruction.