This study was designed to determine whether the distance from the base of the contact area to the crest of bone could be correlated with the presence or absence of the interproximal papilla in humans. A total of 288 sites in 30 patients were examined. If a space was visible apical to the contact point, then the papilla was deemed missing; if tissue filled the embrasure space, the papilla was considered to be present. The results showed that when the measurement from the contact point to the crest of bone was 5 mm or less, the papilla was present almost 100% of the time. When the distance was 6 mm, the papilla was present 56% of the time, and when the distance was 7 mm or more, the papilla was present 27% of the time or less.