Gingival melanin pigmentation and its treatment with the CO2 laser

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2004 Nov;98(5):522-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tripleo.2004.02.059.


Objective: There are only a few reports in the literature evaluating the effects of the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser on gingival melanin pigmentation (GMP). This study was performed to evaluate the effects of the CO2 laser at superpulse mode, applied for gingival depigmentation.

Study design: GMP at the anterior maxillary and mandibular gingiva of 10 patients was treated using the superpulsed CO2 laser (10 watts, 0.8 mm spot size, 20 Hz, 10 milliseconds). Pigmented areas were measured on pre- and postoperative standard digital images by the aid of an image- analyzing software. Statistical analysis of the data was performed by Mann Whitney U test.

Results: Ablation of the hyperpigmented gingiva was accomplished with minimal carbonization and almost no bleeding. Postoperative healing was uneventful with no significant postoperative pain. Two cases of partial repigmentation were observed during 24-month follow-up. Statistical analysis of the data revealed a significant difference between pre- and postoperative measurements of pigmented area.

Conclusion: Application of the superpulse mode of CO2 laser appears to be an effective and safe method for the elimination of GMP.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Dental Arch / pathology
  • Esthetics, Dental
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gingival Diseases / pathology
  • Gingival Diseases / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Laser Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Laser Therapy* / methods
  • Male
  • Mandible / pathology
  • Maxilla / pathology
  • Melanosis / pathology
  • Melanosis / surgery*
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Recurrence
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Wound Healing


  • Carbon Dioxide