December 05, 2018
Gingivectomy and gingivoplasty are similar procedures that both involve the surgical removal of gum tissue. They can be used independently or in conjunction, to treat both medical or cosmetic problems.
So, what is the difference between gingivectomy and gingivoplasty? Gingivectomy is the surgical removal of gum tissue around a gum pocket. This is often in service of removing diseased or dead tissue to allow healing. A gingivoplasty is the reshaping and remoulding of gum tissue. While it can be used to remove diseased tissue, it’s more often used to esthetically reshape the gum line.
When would you need a gingivectomy or gingivoplasty?
This depends on which procedure is being performed. The most common reason to get a gingivectomy is in response to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the advanced form of gingivitis, or gum disease. As the disease progresses, the plaque and calculus-causing bacteria moves down the tooth and under the gum line. This creates a “pocket” between the gum and the tooth. Left unchecked, the infection will even start to deteriorate bone tissue.
A gingivectomy is performed to remove the diseased gum tissue. This helps stem the development of the disease, and allow the gum to heal properly. You might also require a gingivectomy following a tooth extraction. Gum tissue around the extracted tooth can become infected, diseased, or start to die due to a loss of blood supply. A gingivectomy will remove this tissue to maintain optimal health. A gingivectomy can also be used to reshape the gum for a cosmetically pleasing result.
The primary use of a gingivoplasty is to cosmetically reshape the gum line. Many people have oddly shaped or excessive gum. While this doesn’t pose much of a health concern, it can give the appearance of smaller or misshapen teeth. Swollen papillae (the gum tissue between the teeth) is another example of misshapen gum tissue. This can present something of an infection risk, as it is more difficult to clean. In these cases a gingivoplasty is used to reshape the gum line around the tooth to present a more esthetically pleasing smile. Gum is removed and reshaped from around the top of the teeth to make them appear longer and more regularly shaped.
Gingivoplasty doesn’t just involve removing gum tissues. It can be used in conjunction with a gum graft to add gum tissue when necessary. This might be the case during a gingivectomy, where diseased gum tissue needs to be replaced to restore esthetics.