The Gingiva means the gum which is the area around the root of a tooth. The gingiva is the tough insoluble protein mucosa (a type of membrane) that surrounds the teeth. It forms a band around each tooth that ranges in width from1 to 9 mm. The gingiva is attached in part to the cementum of the tooth and in part to the alveolar bone. The gingiva is composed of mucosa that is designed for chewing

In light-skinned individuals the gingiva can be readily distinguished from the adjacent dark red alveolar mucosa by its lighter pink color.

In dark-skinned people the gingiva may contain melanin pigment to a greater extent than the nearby alveolar mucosa. This melanin pigment is synthesized in specialized cells and is produced as granules that are stored within the cells that produce melanin. If pigmented gingiva is surgically inspected it will often heal with little or no pigmentation. Therefore surgical procedures should be designed so as to preserve the pigmented tissues. Clinicians sometime use the terms free and attached gingiva. Attached gingiva refers to the portion of the gingiva towards the top of the tooth. Free gingiva is firmly bound to the underlying tooth and alveolar bone.

The area of the gingiva near the crown of the tooth (Gingival margin) in young people is more likely to become exposed as a result of tooth eruption.

The gingiva occupies the spaces between teeth. It is composed of a pyramidal papilla in the incisor region. The gingiva is attached to the tooth by an epithelium and by connective tissue fibers at the top.

Problems with the gingiva include the following medical conditions:

Gingivitis Periodontitis Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis Primary Herpetic Gingivostomatitis Gingival Hyperplasia or Enlargement Epulis (Localized gingival enlargement) Gingival Erosions
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