A gingivectomy is a periodontal procedure which eliminates excess gum tissue. The term "gingivectomy" is derived from "gingiva", or gum tissue, and "-ectomy", which means to remove.
There are several reasons why a gingivectomy would be needed. Oftentimes, gingivectomies are utilized for cosmetic reasons; for instance, to make teeth appear longer and more proportional. Many patients who seek this treatment are looking for someone to help with their “gummy smile”.
Gingivectomies are also used to remove excess gum tissue (gingival hyperplasia) that has formed as a result of certain drugs, such as anti-seizure medications, organ-transplant medications, and certain high blood pressure medications.
Finally, gingivectomies have been used to shrink deep gum pockets (see section on periodontal disease), although most of the time more than just the removal of gum tissue is warranted to repair deep pockets.
The procedure itself is very straightforward. The affected areas are anesthetized, and then the excess gum tissue is removed - either with a scalpel blade or a laser. (Both the scalpel and the laser each have their own pros and cons, and the technique used is primarily based on the surgeon's preference.) This procedure can be performed with a laser technique and eliminates the need for sutures.
The gingivectomy is a predictable, easy, and safe procedure with results that can last a lifetime.