Elimination of Melanin Pigmentation

Melanin pigmentation of the gingiva occur in all races. Melanin, a brown pigment, is the most common cause of endogenous pigmentation of gingiva and is the most predominant pigmentation of mucosa. Gingival hyperpigmentation is seen as a genetic trait in some populations and is more appropriately termed physiologic or racial gingival pigmentation.

Melanin hyperpigmentation usually does not present as a medical problem, but patients may complain their black gums are unaesthetic. This problem is aggravated in patients with a “gummy smile” or excessive gingival display while smiling. Gingival depigmentation is a periodontal plastic surgical procedure whereby the gingival hyperpigmentation is removed or reduced by various techniques. The first and foremost indication for depigmentation is patient demand for improved esthetics.

Gingival Depigmentation Technique

Various depigmentation techniques have been employed with similar results .. One of the first, and still popular, techniques to be employed was the surgical removal of undesirable pigmentation using scalpels. The procedure essentially involves surgical removal of gingival epithelium along with a layer of the underlying connective tissue and allowing the denuded connective tissue to heal by secondary intention. The new epithelium that forms is devoid of melanin pigmentation.