Coast Dental Blog
Fast Facts - Perio Edition Episode 15

Fast Facts

Fast Facts: Perio Edition “Dentogingival Unit”
A Message for Coast Dental Hygienists and Doctors:
Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on winning Super Bowl LV!! I would like to take a minute and talk about some key aspects of the win, but also how it applies to you, Coast Dental clinicians.
Tom Brady has been in the league a very long time and many people wouldn’t put it past him to think that he knows everything there is to know about the game. Tom, however, does not believe this and continues to work on learning and perfecting his craft. Tom has also now broken records that no one ever thought possible to break, many people giving all of the credit to his success to his former coach, Bill Belichick. Finally, let’s talk about teamwork. Tom has a lengthy track record of taking mediocre utility players and transforming them into elite players, he takes the time during practice and on their off-time to build and uplift them. He gets to know how they perform so that when the moment comes, they are thinking the exact same way.
Do not give up, keep learning and improving yourself and uplifting your team around you.
Andrew Johnston, RDH, BSBM
Director of Hygiene Coast Dental
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Welcome back,  everyone. You are listening to another episode of Fast Facts- Perio Edition brought to you by A Tale of Two Hygienists in partnership with DentistRX. And now, please welcome your host, Katrina Sanders.
[Katrina Sanders, RDH]
Today's episode continues the conversation around oral anatomy and today, I am thrilled to discuss the conversation around the dentogingival unit. Now, I know what you're thinking ...really Sanders? We're talking about the dentogingival unit? Yes, we are and let me tell you why. The dentogingival unit is a collective unit that refers to the epithelial attachment and the gingival connective tissue attachment to the cementum. Many of us know this to be termed the biologic width. And this is really important because biologic width we have continued to study with regards to its protective qualities, to the tooth structure and surrounding periodontium. Oftentimes during even an interview, you'll be asked to define for your doctor what a biologic width is, because your doctor wants you to understand that a biologic width is more than simply a free gingival groove or gingival fibers, but rather the biologic width determines the length coronal apical dimension of soft tissue attachments. Specifically, we are talking about the combination between the junctional epithelium and the gingival fibers leading to the alveolar bone.
The formation of this unit has important clinical applications, particularly during the periodontal evaluation and healing of gingiva after periodontal treatment. We know specifically that the biologic width needs to be respected with regards to restorative procedures.Schematically, we have identified that biologic width includes junctional epithelium, which research has determined to be about .97 millimeters, about one millimeter, and then the gingiva connective tissue attachment or those gingival fibres, which is about 1.07 millimeters.
This biologic width becomes important during prosthetic restorative treatment because we know that the margin of a restoration should not disturb the biologic width. Therefore, we know that the margin of a restoration should not be closer than 2 millimeters to the alveolar bone crest, because if it is, we consider this to be an invasion of the biologic width.
One other rapid hint that we can take a look at is evaluating the radiographs to determine the amount of space between the CEJ and the crest of bone. This, of course, we know comprises the dentogingival unit or the biologic width. One final note, in 2017 The American Academy of Periodontology changed their terminology. So now we have moved away from the term “biologic width” and we are now using the term “Supracrestal Attached Tissues”. How fancy!
Thank you for joining me today and join us next week for another scintillating conversation around oral anatomy.
This has been another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders, RDH. Please feel free to reach me on Instagram @thedentalwinegenist or on my website Cheers.
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Thank you for listening to another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition, brought to you in part by DentistRX makers of the InteliSonic line of power brushes. Find out more by visiting their website at We'll see you next week for another Fast Fact!


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