Why Do I Need a Gingivectomy?


It is estimated that close to half of Americans over 30 are affected by gum disease. Gum or periodontal disease results in inflammation of the tissues which support the teeth and secure them in place.


A gingivectomy is a surgical procedure which can help reverse the negative effects associated with gum disease. Gingivectomy can be used in cases where root planing and scaling were not effective in the treatment of gum disease.


Gingivectomy, which can also be called crown lengthening, is an oral surgery where excess gum tissue is removed. The procedure aims to be minimally invasive and has relatively quick healing time. The surgery removes tissue which is overgrown and helps improve the appearance of the patient’s smile. Most patients who undergo a gingivectomy are adults. A gingivectomy is a highly successful cosmetic procedure.


Some patients who take certain medications, such as medication for blood pressure or patients who experience hormonal changes may notice that their gums become puffy and bigger. In many cases, this can result in the gums looking unnatural and negatively impacting the patient’s smile. Patients who have a “gummy” smile may also consider the procedure as their excess gums result in the teeth appearing shorter.


A gingivectomy is relatively affordable and minimally invasive compared to many other types of aesthetic procedures. When a laser is used for the procedure, patients have incredible results which are almost immediate.


Gingivectomy Candidates

A gingivectomy for patients who experience the following conditions:

  • Aging
  • Bacterial infection
  • Gingivitis
  • Injury of the gums


Dentists often suggest a gingivectomy for patients with gum disease as the procedure can be effective in preventing additional damage. Once the procedure is complete, it is also easier to clean the teeth.


Patients with gum disease often have small holes at the base of the teeth. These gaps can allow for the accumulation of bacteria, calculus, tartar, and plaque. As these materials collect and build up on the teeth, it can cause additional, long-term damage.


When the dentist detects an infection or gum disease during a routine visit, they may suggest the patient undergo a gingivectomy.


On average, a gingivectomy takes about 30-60 minutes. The duration of the procedure can vary based on the amount of gum tissue which needs to be removed. When the operation is minor and involves a single tooth or just a few teeth, it can typically be completed in a single appointment. Operations which require significant gum contouring or when numerous teeth are affected may require multiple appointments. In some cases, the dentist wants to allow one area to heal before the next area is treated.


A summary of the procedure is outlined below:

  • The dentist will inject a local anesthetic to numb the gums which are being treated
  • A laser or scalpel is used to remove the extra gum tissue
  • A laser tool can be used to vaporize excess tissue and sculpt the gumline as needed
  • A soft putty material and bandages are applied to the area while it heals


Follow up with your dentist to discuss your options and determine if you may be a good candidate for a gingivectomy.

Average Cost of a Gingivectomy