Introduction: Dark or black coloured gingiva is an esthetic concern especially in subjects with high lip line or gummy smile. Gingival depigmentation procedure is a type of perioplastic surgery where the gingival epithelium is excised with various techniques to lighten the colour of the gingiva. The aim of this study was to compare the clinical efficacy of gingival depigmentation procedure with conventional scalpel technique and diode laser application.
Methods: This split mouth randomized study was conducted on 12 subjects (18–40 years of age), exhibiting melanin hyperpigmentation of gingiva. The anterior labial sextant of maxilla and mandible were divided into two halves involving three anterior teeth i.e. central incisor, lateral incisor and canine on each side. The divided areas were randomly allotted for depigmentation procedure either with scalpel technique or diode laser operating at 980 nm wavelength. Various parameters such as bleeding, pain, difficulty of procedure and wound healing were assessed and compared between the two techniques. The level of melanin pigment was assessed with Dummette Gupta index and photographic analysis with the help of adobe software. The subjects were followed up to one year to see for recurrence of melanin pigmentation.
Results: Bleeding during surgery, pain score and difficulty of procedure assessed by the operator were statistically higher for scalpel technique as compared to laser technique. Wound healing did not show any statistical significant difference between both techniques. Gingival depigmentation procedures with scalpel as well as laser technique were effective when compared preoperatively and at consecutive postoperative visits, and this was statistically significant. Comparison of melanin depigmentation procedure between scalpel and laser technique did not show any significant differences at all postoperative intervals.
Conclusion: The findings of the present study suggest that gingival depigmentation was effective with both scalpel and laser techniques. However, the laser treated sites showed reduced pain experienced by the patient and better operator comfort. Slight melanin repigmentation was observed in three subjects treated with scalpel depigmentation procedure at the end of one year.
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