Do I Need Gingival Surgery?

Surgeons performing dental surgery

A common question we get from patients who have experienced gum disease or receding gums is, “Do I need gingival surgery?” We’d like to answer that question in a little more detail.

What exactly is gingival surgery?

Also known as esthetic gum surgery, gingival surgery is a procedure that essentially helps to reset and restore a damaged, discolored or receding gum line. While this is essentially a cosmetic procedure that some want done simply to improve the look of their gums, it can also promote better dental health by protecting gums and teeth.

When is the surgery recommended?

There are basically two situations in which gingival surgery is recommended:

  • Patients with advanced gum disease. Gum disease can cause gum recession, a condition in which the gums gradually pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots and making the teeth themselves more vulnerable. Gingival surgery can correct this issue.
  • Patients who are unhappy with the appearance of their gums. Even if the gums and teeth are not in danger, some people opt for esthetic gum surgery because they are unhappy with the look of their gum line and want to improve their smile.

What happens during surgery?

Depending on the extent of the surgery, we may administer a local anesthetic, IV sedation or general anesthetic during the procedure. We then take specific steps to restore the look and symmetry of your gum line. The exact procedures differ from patient to patient, but may include any of the following:

  • Removal of unsightly, unsymmetrical or excess gum tissue
  • Reshaping the gum line using special instruments
  • Grafting gum tissue onto receding gums (either harvested from other areas of the mouth, or from tissue donors)

After the surgery, we will apply a dressing to your gums which needs to remain between 3-10 days, depending on the extent of the procedure. Most patients are fully recovered within a few weeks.

The end result

After gingival surgery, your gums will look and feel healthier, and exposed roots should be covered. You should continue to practice proper hygiene and tooth/gum care to prevent a recurrence of gum disease.