What is a cosmetic gingivectomy?

Find out what cosmetic gingivectomy is about. A dental treatment that improves the appearance of the smile.

Last update: August 31, 2021

People who have a gummy smile show their gums too much when laughing and their teeth appear smaller. To correct this excessive tissue growth, cosmetic gingivectomy can be used.

It is a dental intervention that removes and contours gums to improve their appearance. In this article we will tell you when it is indicated, how it is done and what its risks are.

What is cosmetic gingivectomy?

Aesthetic gingivectomy it is a surgical procedure performed by the dentist to remove part of the gum that surrounds the dental elements. The gum tissue is trimmed and contoured around the pieces, improving the appearance of the smile.

This technique is also called Crown lengthening. Well, by trimming the excess gingival tissue, it is possible to clear part of the dental crown that was covered.

This makes the tooth look larger and longer. In addition, it allows access to areas of the tooth that were hidden, facilitating some treatments and avoiding complications.

Aesthetic gingivectomy is a simple, quick, and painless procedure. It is done using local anesthesia.

There are two different terms to refer to the specific procedure that is performed on the gingival tissue. The gingivectomy It is the removal of excess gums. The gingivoplastyInstead, it consists of outlining and shaping the mucosa that surrounds the teeth.

Anyway, although there are specific terms to name each maneuver, the truth is that both are carried out together. In some cases, it is also necessary to remove bone tissue and clean the area below the gingival tissue.

In which cases is a cosmetic gingivectomy necessary?

As we already mentioned, aesthetic gingivectomy is used to treat the gummy smile. This procedure allows you to remove the excess gums that cover the teeth and obtain a mouth with a more harmonious appearance.

In addition, this therapy is used for the treatment of cavities or when it is necessary to place artificial crowns in areas that are below the gums. As it allows the exposure of healthy surfaces that can support restorations or fixed prostheses.

When excessive gum growth interferes with dental hygiene, it favors the accumulation of bacterial plaque. In these cases, aesthetic gingivectomy it is also an alternative to prevent complications.

Bacteria on the gums trigger their inflammation. If this is not solved in time, the process evolves to periodontitis. In this way, there will be loss of the supporting tissues of the teeth and the treatment will be more complicated.

Other situations that warrant resorting to aesthetic gingivectomy are gingival hyperplasias, caused by medication or inflammation from the use of orthodontics. Also to treat supraosseous periodontal pockets and for cases of bruxism, in which tooth wear makes the teeth look too small.

Inflammation of the gums can evolve into severe periodontitis, so a timely approach is key.

How to prepare for a cosmetic gingivectomy

Dental appointments prior to performing an aesthetic gingivectomy are essential. In them, the dentist will obtain the necessary data to know the state of health of the patient and determine the need for this treatment.

A complete medical history, a thorough oral exam, and X-rays of the surgical site will be required. It is important to have enough gingiva inserted to be able to perform this treatment.

The state of periodontal health and the depth of the pockets should be evaluated. In this way, it is possible to determine the need to combine the intervention with other maneuvers.

In the event that the patient takes any medication, the surgeon may indicate its suspension. Also, due to the patient's own health conditions, it may be necessary to take a specific medication before surgery. When cosmetic gingivectomy is performed to place artificial crowns, provisionals must be made to protect the tooth that is ground during the procedure.

Before undergoing the intervention it is very important to clear up all the doubts that you have with the surgeon. Be clear about what the surgery will accomplish lets you know what to expect to avoid disappointment later.

How is the cosmetic gingivectomy procedure?

Aesthetic gingivectomy is performed in the dental office, on an outpatient basis and under local anesthesia. The duration of the intervention depends on the number of teeth on which the procedure is performed and if only gum or bone tissue is removed.

The dentist, after anesthetizing, will mark the area to be intervened. Subsequently cuts and separates the gums from the teeth.

In this way, the dental roots and the bone tissue that covers them are exposed. According to the clinical case, the excess gingiva is removed and, if necessary, part of the bone.

If the procedure is carried out to treat a cavity or place a crown, the appropriate procedures are performed. The surgical site is then cleaned, the gingiva repositioned, and sutured.

Can be performed with an electric or laser scalpel and rotary instruments. In this way, the gingiva is removed and contoured directly and no suturing is necessary.

In some cases, it is convenient to put a bandage or surgical cement to protect the area. The dentist will give the patient the necessary recommendations for the recovery and healing of the tissues.

Postoperative of aesthetic gingivectomy

Recovery of the patient after surgery is usually quick and smooth. In any case, the dentist indicates pain relievers and anti-inflammatories to make the process less obtrusive.

In addition, the dentist may indicate some mouth rinse with antiseptics to prevent the surgical area from becoming infected. After a week the inflammation of the gum tissue begins to disappear. And after two weeks the gums are usually recovered.

Although it is not the most common, some patients may have bleeding in the first 24 hours. In addition, there are people who have pain or sensitivity when eating in the first 72 hours and during the healing process of the mucous membranes.

Tips for the postoperative

The tissue repair process after cosmetic gingivectomy is progressive. However, putting the following tips into practice after surgery will help make the recovery more comfortable and successful:

  • Place cold in the area.
  • Do not remove the bandages until the dentist changes them or indicates their definitive removal.
  • Avoid physical activity and do not make efforts.
  • Take the medication indicated by the dentist.
  • Follow a soft and cold diet, avoiding acidic and spicy foods.
  • Sanitize the mouth carefully.
  • Do not rinse or swish unless directed by the dentist.
  • Avoid smoking and consuming alcoholic beverages.
  • Wear dentures as directed by the dentist.
  • Do not hurt the area, or check or touch the wound.
  • Go to the dentist to remove the stitches, complying with the programmed controls.
Postoperative bleeding is to be expected. In any case, the professional makes the precise indications to arrive at the best healing.

Risks of aesthetic gingivectomy

Although cosmetic gingivectomy is a simple surgery, it is not exempt from presenting risks or complications. Bleeding from the surgical site, for example, is an immediate inconvenience that can happen. If the bleeding does not stop, it will be necessary to go to the dentist to control it.

Wound infection is another possibility. Compliance with the surgeon's instructions is essential to avoid this complication.

Another risk that arises is the appearance of tooth sensitivity in the intervened elements. This annoyance with the cold and heat it usually disappears with the passage of time.

An aesthetic defect that can arise after treatment is that the operated tooth appears longer than the rest. When the procedure included bone removal, the tooth may be mobile.

The area on which the aesthetic gingivectomy is performed makes it difficult to place implants in the future. What's more, another risk is that the gum grows back and the problem recurs. In this case, the procedure must be repeated, but including the removal of bone tissue.

A simple and effective aesthetic alternative

As we tell you, aesthetic gingivectomy it is a simple surgery that improves the appearance of the smile simply and quickly. Furthermore, inconveniences are unlikely if the dentist's instructions are followed.

If you are looking to treat exaggerated gum growth and have a more beautiful mouth, this therapy may be a good option. Dialogue with your trusted dentist about the possibilities of performing the treatment in your oral cavity is the first step to find that beautiful smile you want.