Gingivectomy and gingivoplasty are complimentary periodontal procedures, often done in combination. They can both be surgical, and are procedures to reshape and re-contour the gums. The difference is that a gingivectomy is more oriented to curing disease, while gingivoplasty is more often cosmetic in nature to improve the appearance of gums and smile.
Gingivectomy: An oral surgery that is done to halt the progression of periodontitis/gum disease. It becomes necessary when the gums have pulled away from the teeth, creating deep pockets that make it difficult to clean away plaque that cannot be eliminated with antibiotics or by scaling and root planning (a.k.a. dental debridement), and must be removed. This involves removing a small section of the gum tissue that forms the pocket, allowing better access for calculus removal and smoothing of the roots to enhance reattachment of gum tissue, also eliminating gum enlargements and abscesses. A gingivectomy is usually recommended before gum disease has damaged the bone supporting your teeth.