Split mouth de-epithelization techniques for gingival depigmentation: A case series and review of literature

J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2011 Apr;15(2):161-8. doi: 10.4103/0972-124X.84387.


Gingival melanin pigmentation occurs in all races of mankind. Although clinical melanin pigmentation does neither present itself as a medical problem nor a disease entity, it is a major esthetic concern for many people, especially Asians. Esthetic gingival depigmentation procedures can be performed in such patients with excellent results. This case series presents a split mouth de-epithelization procedure using popular surgical techniques such as scalpel, bur abrasion or electrosurgery. These techniques were successfully used to treat gingival hyperpigmentation. Although we found that electrosurgery increased the efficacy of our work, giving a cleaner and neater work field, it required a lot of precision. In contrast, scalpel de-epithelization was easy and technique-friendly, giving excellent results and patient satisfaction. However, the cases are being followed-up to study the factors affecting the rate and length of time required for repigmentation and to study the repigmentation patterns. This case series also reviews the advantages and disadvantages of various techniques available for depigmentation, and reiterates that the scalpel technique still serves as a gold standard for depigmentation.

Keywords: Bur abrasion; depigmentation; electrosurgery; gingiva; melanin; physiological pigmentation; scalpel technique.

Publication types

  • Case Reports