No more gummy smile
February 3, 2007 1:56 PM   Subscribe

Anyone had a gingivectomy?

I'm getting one next week, and I'd like to hear others experience in having the procedure. Was there any pain afterwards? How about eating? (Not too concerned about that since I'm in braces and watch how I eat already)

My reasons for the gingivectomy have nothing to do with gum disease. It's purely cosmetic. My doctor will be trimming the gums and some bone.
posted by quoththeraven to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
While I haven't had a gingivectomy, I have had several gingival grafts. The most painful part of the procedure will likely be the shots of local anesthetic, and afterwards the pain is fairly minor. Make sure you get a little bit of hydrocodone, but ibuprofen may well be enough. You are getting gingiva removed (and, I hope, reshaped through gingivoplasty), whereas I had tissue removed from the roof of my mouth and stitched onto places where my gumline had receded. Most of the discomfort came from the roof of my mouth, as my gums healed very quickly. Avoid extremes of temperature, salty foods, and any food with pointy edges. I drank a lot of protein shakes, ate yogurt and cottage cheese with soft fruits, and pureed soups and chili (yum).
posted by chudder at 2:16 PM on February 3, 2007

I've had a couple of mm of all of my gums chopped out over four sessions of surgery. (So glad I smoked!) The first one was the worst in that I was so tense listening to the doctor sharpening the scalpel on sandpaper while I was waiting for him to get to it that I had all sorts of muscular soreness the day after the surgery.

As I only had one quadrant of my mouth done at a sitting, I didn't need to adjust my diet. Cool drinks seemed to ease the cut gum somewhat.

The day after the cut the gum felt relatively normal, if a bit tender.
posted by Wolof at 7:08 PM on February 3, 2007

Hi, quoththeraven. Good luck with your gum surgery. I am now 25 and my gingevectory done about 12 years ago, right after I had my braces removed. For some reason, my (top) gums had begun to grow downward. It was very strange. Perhaps my oral hygiene wasn't the best, but to be honest, my oral hygiene wasn't that bad. No worse than any other teenager, anyway.

My gingivectory was a nightmare. Period. It took hours and was torture. I really don't want to scare you, but it's nice to know what to expect. The sound of the tools was awful and really causes a lot of unnecessary anxiety. I had to have over 70 shots of the stuff that numbs your mouth. Those shots in your mouth sting like nobody's business. Even with the shots, I could still feel the pressure of the dentist's hands and the scalpel slicing off my gums. I could see blood all over my bib and the dentist's hands. My mother, an registered nurse, was in the room and she started to cry and had to turn her head several times. When it was all over and my mom and I got into the car, I broke down and sobbed for 20 minutes. I had been so tense during the hours or surgery, gripping the armrests, that it was just a huge relief to be out of there.

I can't remember eating anything for several days. Lots of water and lots of swishing your mouth out with salt water. It was so hard to brush my teeth for weeks because of the sensitivity.

You should know that like much of cosmetic surgery, the way you look and feel once all is healed is definitely worth the pain. My smile looks so much better than it would have and I have a lot more confidence.

You should really ask the oral surgeon if he can sedate you in any way. Happy gas, pills, a slam in the head, whatever. It will really help you. Ask if you can take a sleeping pill before you arrive at his office. Maybe wearing head phones with loud music playing will help distract you from what is going on. Close your eyes because you don't want to see a bunch of sharp, bloody tools in front of your face.

For your sake, I hope that the procedure has been perfected in the last 12 years.
posted by HotPatatta at 10:53 PM on February 3, 2007

I should also add that my surgery was done in a small town in the deep South.
posted by HotPatatta at 10:55 PM on February 3, 2007

I had a pretty weird gum removal about two or three years back. I had big growths of gum in my mouth that needed to be removed. The cause and nature of the growths successfully baffled two dentists, two orthodontists (called in after the dentists realized they had never seen it before), and my oral surgeon, so quite frankly, if my surgery went well after all that, yours will probably be more than fine (in all likelihood), even though yours involves cutting of the bone (which mine didn't).

I was asleep the entire time. I wasn't lucid for quite awhile afterwards (unlike when I got my wisdom teeth, when I got home and immediately began reading), and the prescribed Tylenol 3 codeine took care of all the pain.

However, I spent most of the day watching movies with my face over a blood bucket. But again, I probably had a lot more gum removed than you will.

By the evening, I was eating omelettes (to my surgeon's surprise).

The next day, I was pretty much fine.

Good luck!
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:14 AM on February 4, 2007

HotPatatta, my periodontist works with laser and scalpel so I hope it won't be as bloody as yours :(

Thank you for your replies. Glad I asked for the night off from work.
posted by quoththeraven at 2:46 PM on February 4, 2007

I've had it (twice-grew back and had to have it again) and the anticipation was much worse than the reality. The keys? Valium beforehand, a good friend to drive, and an iPod during-the music helped me check out, and also drowned out the noise. Forgot the iPod the second time and that was worse. It was really painless-it was done with lasers, so the smell of ...ugh...burning flesh was a tad disconcerting. That was the worst part.
posted by purenitrous at 9:05 PM on February 4, 2007

I had a gap between my two front teeth, and after braces, there was bit of overhanging gum from where the two teeth had been pushed back together. The orthodontist said it might cause my teeth to move apart again, so I should have it snipped.

The procedure itself wasn't painful, other than the shots they give to numb your mouth. But once those shots wore off hours later, it was awful, awful pain, which only went away after I took whatever painkillers they had prescribed. Don't wait to take them, either.

I covered my eyes with a napkin so I wouldn't be tempted to look at what they were doing. No lasers were used in the procedure; just a scapel.

I had to wear a little piece of plastic, I think, over the dissolvable suture. It took a couple of weeks to heal. It wasn't really that bad, all things considered--your procedure sounds like it will be more involved than mine was. Good luck.
posted by cass at 7:59 AM on February 5, 2007

Thanks for more replies! I'll definitely bring my mp3 player.
posted by quoththeraven at 12:18 PM on February 6, 2007

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