Gingivectomy or Gum Disease

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Gingivectomy: aka Gum Disease, Periodontitis, Periodontal Surgery, Gingivitis, Surgery For Gum Disease


What is it?


Gingivectomy is a surgery performed to save individual’s gums if they have severe gum disease, a condition also known as periodontitis. Some people use the term gum surgery and periodontal surgery interchangeably, while others refer to all surgeries pertaining to the gums as gingivectomy surgery although this is an incorrect use of the term.


Periodontitis occurs if gum disease progresses to a point where the tissues and bones that ordinarily support the teeth are no longer able to do so because the buildup of bacteria and plaque has become too great.


Typically gum disease is first treated with antibiotics that help combat bacteria. Dentists will also manually remove plaque and tartar from the teeth above and below the bum during cleanings. Sometimes however this is not enough to help prevent or stop gum disease from progressing. In other cases people do not see a dentist during the early stages of gum disease where it is still treatable with antibiotics. In cases like this a gingivectomy may be the only solution.


The Operation


During a gingivectomy, the surgeon begins by providing the patient with a local anesthetic which numbs the gums. This provides immediate or near immediate pain relief. Next, the doctor will prepare the gums with a laser which helps remove sick gum from the tooth and separates it from the gum line.


Once the gum tissue is set apart from the teeth to heal, the dentist will place putty over the gum to protect the gums. This allows the gum to heal. The doctor then allows the patient food and drink while the putty remains in place giving the gums proper time to heal.


Once the gums are healed the patient can go about their normal business or opt for one of many other restorative dental procedures to enhance the look and appearance of their smile. Any decay going on with the teeth themselves becomes more evidence once the gums have healed. Some patients opt for cosmetic surgery to enhance the appearance of both the gums and the teeth following a gingivectomy or related surgeries. Many medical companies abroad offer medical incentive packages that offer a gingivectomy in combination with several other procedures including dental implants or dental crowns to create beautiful smiles.


Alternatives to Surgery


The best alternative to surgery is to avoid gum disease. If you brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist regularly hopefully you can avoid gum disease and surgery. If this is not the case you may be able to treat gum disease with a course of strong antibiotics and surgical scrapings and in-house treatments by your dentist.


Once the gums have started to deteriorate it is much harder to get them back into proper working order remember than if you just keep them in shape to begin with!


Before the Operation


Usually a gum surgery is a simple operation that does not require a lot of preparation. You may take some Tylenol to help with pain and you should brush your teeth to prepare your gums ahead of time. Your doctor may advise you to stay away from certain foods or chemical irritants to improve your surgical outcome. These preparations may also reduce any unwanted side effects following surgery.


After the Operation- At Home


Once the surgery is complete it may take you just a few short days to heal or several weeks to heal depending on your personal health and the status of your gums. You may want to avoid any sticky, chewy or sharp foods for a few days while your gums heal. Some people find taking an anti-inflammatory agent like acetaminophen or ibuprofen helps with the irritation or discomfort following the gingivectomy. Most people are not bothered much by the experience.


Possible Complications


Some people do find the shape of the gums or the contour of their gums change a bit following surgery but this is more of a cosmetic issue than a health complication.



General Advice


It is important to care for your gums because improper care of the gums and development of gum disease can lead to many different illnesses including:


  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Liver diseases or other metabolic diseases
  • Joint problems or complaints
  • Infections


Often patients avoid seeing the dentist for fear the dentist will incur pain, however the sooner you see a dentist the less likely you are to experience pain from any procedure much less a gingivectomy or periodontal surgery.


The gum surgery procedure itself is actually quite painless. Gingivectomy surgery can also help prevent gum disease from damaging the actual teeth and allows patients to clean better between their teeth especially if the gums have been swollen. Many times patients will see an improvement in their overall oral hygiene following periodontal surgery or a gingivectomy.


Estimated Costs for Gingivectomy


The cost of a gingivectomy will vary from person to person and doctor to doctor. Your doctor may have to include additional costs based on the severity of your gum disease and whether or not your doctor incorporates other procedures into the gum surgery. Many people have cosmetic dentistry performed around the same time they have a gingivectomy done, while others wait until their gums are healthy before having additional work performed.



Country Cost
USA $5000
Brazil $600-1200
Costa Rica $400-1100
South Africa $400-1400
Thailand $600-1500

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