Background: In dentistry, esthetics has a special place. Although gingival melanin pigmentation does not present a medical problem, clinicians are often faced with a challenge of achieving gingival esthetics.
Materials and methods: A method of de-epithelialization of the pigmented gingiva using Kirkland's gingivectomy knife is described. Twenty patients who were conscious about their gingival melanin pigmentation were selected. The gingiva of the whole of the arch was abraded until the entire visible pigmentation was removed. Clinical observations for intensity of pigmentation were recorded at baseline and then after surgery at monthly intervals over a period of 9 months according to Dummett-Gupta Oral Pigmentation Index scoring criteria proposed by Dummett C. O. in 1964.
Results: The mean gingival melanin pigmentation score came down to 0.407 after 9 months as compared to preoperative score, which was 2.24. No repigmentation occurred in fair-complexioned persons. In persons with wheatish complexion, repigmentation was seen in 85.71% of the cases, but scores came down to 0.38 postoperatively as compared to 2.27 preoperatively. In dark-complexioned persons, repigmentation occurred in all cases, but the mean scores were 0.93 as compared to 2.40 preoperatively. The difference between preoperative and postoperative mean scores for each segment was put to statistical analysis by applying paired t test and was found to be significant.
Conclusion: As this method has shown statistically significant results, it can be used in patients who are conscious of pigmented gingiva and want an esthetically satisfactory color.
Keywords: De-epithelialization; gingival melanin pigmentation; repigmentation.