There are a number of dental procedures that require surgery of the soft tissues of the mouth (principally the gums). These include: gum trimming (gingivoplasty), gum removal (gingivectomy) and the removal of the tissue that connects the lip to the gum and/or the tongue to the bottom of the mouth (frenectomy).
In some people the gum line might not grow in the right place particularly if adult teeth grow in an erratic manner. Sometimes when this happens the gum line can cover the top third of the teeth resulting in a so-called 'gummy smile'. Correction of this complaint is one of the simplest cosmetic dental procedures. The patient's teeth and gums are numbed using a local anesthetic in order to allow the dental practitioner to trim the excess gum thereby exposing the full length of the teeth.
While healthy gums are an important part of a person's appearance sometimes extra gum can grow over the surface of the tooth shortening its visible length until it can produce an irregular smile that some people can find embarrassing and a blow to their self-confidence.
A gingivectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a small amount of gum tissue around a tooth or teeth. While a gingivectomy is often performed to improve the visible appearance of a smile sometimes it may be needed to remove a decayed tooth, or to allow a filling to be fitted.
Like Gingivoplasty a gingivectomy is a relatively simple surgical procedure. A small incision is made by the dental practitioner and the excess gum tissue is removed using a dental tool.
Frenectomy, a frenum is a fold of tissue that connects the movable lip or cheek to the gum. Sometimes because of its position the frenum interferes with the normal alignment of teeth or pulls the gum away. In such cases surgery may be required to remove this tissue. This is known as a frenectomy. If untreated a frenum may cause gum recession to occur. Orthodontic patients often have this procedure done to assist with closing a front tooth gap. A lingual frenectomy is the removal of the frenum under the tongue. This is often recommended for patients who because they have a short, tight lingual frenum have difficulty making some sounds (tongue-tied).