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Gingivectomy vs Gingivoplasty: What You Should Know

Posted by On 7-02-2019

Gingivectomies and gingivoplasties are special dental surgical procedures used to treat periodontal disease and other gum-related issues. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place. Although this disease has been typically treated using scaling and root planing, more advanced cases require surgery. Other gum related issues tend to be of a cosmetic nature such as gummy smiles or uneven gum contouring which can affect the appearance of your smile. While most of these surgeries are performed with a scalpel, they can also be performed using electrosurgery units, diamond burrs, and lasers. Laser treatments are an effective option for treatment with less pain and quicker healing.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is serious as it affects not only your gums but also the bone that holds your root. It begins with gingivitis and proceeds to a bacterial infection that can lead to tooth loss and gum recession. Symptoms can include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bone loss that is detected with an x-ray
  • Loose teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Pus or clear fluid from the gums and the gumline

If gingivitis is allowed to progress, plaque and calculus can spread into the natural pocket between the ridge of the gum line and the tooth's enamel leading to inflammation. The inflammation widens the slim gaps that occur naturally between the tooth and gum. This widening allows more bacteria to aggravate the sensitive tissue along the root's outer surface, creating severe damage if left unchecked. The only way progression can be stopped is to prescribe a gingivectomy. In some cases, a gingivoplasty is used to re-shape the gumline to assist in treatment.

What is the Difference Between Gingivectomy & Gingivoplasty?

Both surgeries involve the removal of gum tissue. The main difference between the two procedures is that a gingivectomy removes diseased gum tissue surrounding a gum pocket while a gingivoplasty is performed to reshape gum tissue usually for cosmetic reasons. A gingivoplasty can be used in combination with a gingivectomy and there are also cases where a gingivectomy can be used for cosmetic procedures. Dr. Julie will advise on what is best for your needs.

How are the Procedures Performed?

Both procedures can be performed at our office safely and comfortably. The steps involved are as follows:

  • Your teeth will be cleaned to thoroughly remove plaque and calculus from the area using periodontal scaling and root planing.
  • A local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area.
  • If you are having a gingivoplasty, we will shape and remove gum tissue contributing to a disease or create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance to your gums. This only takes a few minutes.
  • If you are having a gingivectomy, we will determine the depth of the pockets using a probe to provide guidance where incisions will be required. Pockets are measured in millimetres.
  • We will remove only the gum tissue required to eliminate the pocket cutting at a 45-degree angle to the tooth to ensure we take only the tissue that is diseased. This cut is “apical.”
  • Once we have completed the procedure, we will place a surgical dressing on the gum tissue.
  • We will send you home with proper instructions to care for your mouth following your procedure.

How Do Laser Treatments Differ from Traditional Methods?

Laser treatments provide an option that is tissue-preserving, regenerative, and bone-building. It will also target infected pockets, but in this case, we will use a laser instead of a scalpel. Not only does the laser cut the tissue that has to be removed, but it also kills the infected tissue and existing bacteria. Following the cut, we can easily remove calculus with an ultrasonic root cleaner. We then use laser energy to seal the tissue which not only heals, but also prevents further infection and bleeding. This approach allows the body to use its own healing powers as the lasers stimulate stem cells generating new connective tissues, bone, and collagen. This restores the integrity of the bone.

What are the Benefits of a Gingivectomy?

  • The benefits of a gingivectomy include:
  • Diseased tissue is removed
  • Pocket depth is reduced
  • Gum disease is halted and/or controlled
  • Improves ability to maintain good hygiene
  • Helps save teeth and bone
  • Contributes to oral health

What are the Benefits of a Gingivoplasty?

A gingivoplasty is used for cosmetic reasons. It reshapes the gums for a more appealing smile. Common aesthetic problems corrected with gingivoplasties can include:

  • Gummy smile (excessive gums show when smiling)
  • Uneven gingival contours
  • The loss of papillae, the small gum tissue between teeth
  • Exposed root surfaces

Patients also find excellent results in the case of teeth that might appear too small or where the gums are causing teeth to have an unusual shape. These issues can occur if gum tissue grows down and over your teeth. The excess gum makes teeth look smaller or even crooked. Using gum contouring surgery, we can remove excess tissue and re-shape it to lift the gum line and reveal more of your teeth. You will be left with a perfect smile with enhanced symmetry.

Why Choose Oral Laser Treatments for Periodontal Disease?

Oral laser treatments are the ideal solution to fight periodontal disease. They eliminate deep bacterial pockets while killing bacteria. This reduces the risk of re-infection. Precision targeting with the laser helps maintain more of your healthy tissue. There is less bleeding with laser treatments as they heal while they cut. This means there is also less swelling and trauma which reduces required healing time. Dr. Julie has better control using the laser which allows her to adjust the power levels to suit different levels of periodontal disease.

Are Gingivectomies & Gingivoplasties covered by Insurance?

In the case either procedure is performed solely for cosmetic reasons, insurance will not cover your treatment. However, they are usually covered for treatment of periodontal disease depending on your plan.

If you are suffering from symptoms of periodontal disease or would like to learn more about how laser treatments can be used to improve your smile call our team to schedule an appointment at (905) 878-8528.

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