Gingivectomy is a dental procedure in which a dentist or oral surgeon cuts away part of the gums in the mouth. It is the oldest surgical approach in periodontal therapy and is usually done for improvement of aesthetics or prognosis of teeth. It is referred to as a crown lengthening procedure.

For patients that are diagnosed with gum disease, or periodontis, that cannot be easily treated with root planning and scaling, a gingivectomy can be used to remove affected tissue and prevent bone damage, reduce the likelihood of oral systemic health problems and stop the spread of periodontal disease and oral infection.

The surgical process is a fairly straightforward procedure that is painless through the use of a local anaesthetic. The affected gum tissue can be removed manually or through the use of a laser. Once the surgical removal process in completed, your gums will be coated with a specialized putty that protects them as they heal and enables you eat during your initial recovery. Normal activities, diet and care can resume in just a few short days or weeks based on your unique case. Following your gingivectomy, the appearance of your gums may change slightly, but you can expect them to return to a healthy pink color. With proper care, your gingivectomy will allow you to preserve your smile and periodontal health.

Discomfort:

Slight swelling of the operated area is not unusual. Chapped lips or bruising of the lips / cheek area may occur.
A reusable ice bag or a frozen vegetable bag, wrapped in a soft towel, may be applied to the area of surgery to help minimize the swelling of your face. Alternating 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off will usually be adequate during the first 24-48 hours after surgery.

Keeping your head elevated above your heart will also help. Most swelling can occur in the morning and up to 3 days after surgery. Avoid sleeping / laying on the side that surgery was performed.

Two days after surgery, moist heat will help resolve minor swelling. Major swelling should be reported to the doctor at once.
You may experience some tooth sensitivity after surgery, especially to cold. Sensitivity usually decreases within several weeks after surgery and can be minimized by keeping the area as free of plaque as possible. If the sensitivity is extreme, contact the doctor for recommendations or medications to relieve the discomfort. IF you are instructed to wear a clear appliance or an upper denture that covers up the roof of the mouth, do NOT REMOVE it for 24 hours NO MATTER WHAT!!! It may pool with blood, but leave it in there and just swoosh with Chlorhexidine rinse or lukewarm salt water.
After 24 hours you are to wear it as much as you please, especially while you eat for your comfort.

Dressing:

We may apply a periodontal surgical dressing to protect the surgical site and keep you comfortable. The dressing will harden in a few hours. In most cases the dressing is left in the mouth for a period of 7-14 days and may be changed once or more by the doctor during this time. Try to keep the dressing in placed until your next appointment. If the dressing becomes loose or comes off, do not try to push it back. Call our office to notify the doctor and receive further instructions. Maintain normal oral hygiene measures in the areas of your mouth not affected by the surgery. In areas where there is dressing, lightly brush only the biting surfaces of the teeth.
Please chew on the opposite side of your mouth and try to avoid the dressing as much as possible.

Be sure to keep your post-operative appointment to allow for removal of any dressings or sutures and to assess your healing!!!

Bleeding:

Minor bleeding, such as a pinkish tinge to your saliva, may occur during the first 48 hours following surgery. Avoid extremely hot foods for the rest of the day and do NOT rinse out your mouth, as these will often prolong the bleeding. If bleeding continues, apply light pressure to the area with a moistened gauze or moistened tea bag. Keep in place for 20-30 minutes without looking to see if bleeding has stopped. (NO PEEKING!) Do not spit or rinse forcefully. If further bleeding occurs or increases, please call our office as soon as possible to notify the doctor and receive further instructions. Avoid any strenuous physical activity for the next 2-3 days to prevent or minimize severe bleeding.

Eating / Diet:

Please follow a soft food diet, taking care to avoid the surgical area(s) when chewing. Chew on the opposite side and do NOT bite into food if the procedure was done in the front of the mouth. Avoid sticky, hard (such as ice cubes, nuts, popcorn, chips), brittle, spicy, highly seasoned, or acidic foods in your diet. Foods such as soups, pasta, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese etc. are best. Be sure to maintain adequate nutrition and drink plenty of fluids.
Avoid alcohol (even beer and wine) and smoking until after your post-operative appointment. Smoking is not advised during the 7-14 days following surgery.

Homecare:

Maintain normal oral hygiene measures in the areas of your mouth not affected by the surgery. In areas where there is dressing, lightly brush only the biting surfaces of the teeth. After you have eaten or you have snacked, please use lukewarm salt water rinse 4-6X a day; 30 seconds of swooshing with each use. Vigorous rinsing should be avoided!

Starting tomorrow:

Please use Periogard, Peridex, or Chlorhexidine mouth rinse 2X (morning and night) a day; 30 seconds of swooshing with each use.
The doctor may recommend using a soft Q-tip or cotton swab with toothpaste to gently clean tooth surfaces in operated area
Unless otherwise instructed, avoid flossing and regular tooth brushing of affected area

Avoid:

  • Please do NOT play with the surgery area with your fingers or tongue.
  • Do NOT pull down the lip or cheek to look at the area and do not have someone else look at the area. Just LEAVE IT ALONE!
  • Do NOT use a drinking straw, as the suction may dislodge the blood clot.
  • Avoid extremely hot foods. Cold foods such as ice cream or shake are OK as long as you use a spoon.
  • Avoid alcohol (even beer and wine) and smoking until after your post operative appointment
  • Avoid sleeping / laying down on the side of the affected area
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