Gingival melanin pigmentation (GMP) occurs in all races of man. Although clinical melanin pigmentation does not present a medical problem, demand for cosmetic therapy is commonly made by fair-skinned people with moderate GMP. The present study was undertaken to test the effectiveness of cryosurgical destruction of the gingival epithelium in the removal of gingival melanin pigmentation. The patient was a fair-skinned Ashkenazi Jew with moderate GMP who demanded any possible "cosmetic therapy" which would convert her "black gums" to "normal". Gingival cryosurgery was carried out by segments. A gas expansion cryoprobe cooled to -81 degrees C was applied to the gingiva for 10 s. Frozen sites thawed spontaneously within 1 min. Superficial necrosis became apparent within a week. Treated sites were covered by epithelium within 2 weeks following freezing and keratinization was completed after 3-4 weeks. The treated gingiva appeared normal and remained depigmented until the present time, 20 months following freezing. It is concluded that cryosurgery may prove to be the treatment of choice when gingival depigmentation is indicated.
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