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Fast Facts - The Gingiva

Fast Facts

Fast Facts - Perio Edition Episode 9
[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]
Hello and welcome back to another episode of Fast Facts: Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders. Today's episode begins a multi episode approach to talking about the anatomy of the periodontium and today, we're going to begin by talking about the gingiva. Now, when we talk about the gingiva and oral mucosa, we got to dial it back to hygiene school.
We all remember that the gingiva is comprised of a stratified squamous epithelial layer, but even more so our oral mucosa can either be keratinized or non-keratinized.
So in the perio world, I like to explain to my patients, your keratinized tissue could be like the palm of your hand and the skin on the palm of your hand, more firm and protective and your non-keratinized would be if you were to flip your hand over and you were to grab the loose skin on the back of your hand.
Are all of you driving to work right now, grabbing the loose skin on the back of your hand?
This denotes either keratinized tissue, this is your masticatory mucosal tissue, and its job is to protect the gingiva hard palate or your non-keratinized.
This would be your lining mucosal tissues. These will be things like your sulcular and junctional epithelium. This could also be your alveolar vestibular and buccal mucosa as well as the floor of the mouth. The tongue is a specialized type of tissue.
Now, when we talk about gingiva, we have several different anatomical findings. So the first would be your free gingiva and the free gingiva is the loosely defined, pun intended, because it is the free gingiva is loosely defined as that outer boundary of the sulcus. So when you're probing your patient, you are essentially probing how many millimeters of free gingiva is present.
We have a little delineated groove called the free gingival groove and the free gingival groove is the point opposite to the alveolar crust. In a healthy situation, it's kind of a light depression and that free gingival groove separates our free gingiva from our attached gingiva now are attached gingiva, we know, is going to be firmly bound into that underlying bone and our attached gingiva is what has a rete pegs which gives the appearance of stippling.
Our attached gingiva provides protective qualities to our surrounding periodontium and our attached gingiva will move directly down into that mucogingival junction and remember that mucogingival junction is the point at which the gingiva ends and our alveolar mucosa takes over.
My hope is that you had a nice little review here on the anatomy of the gingiva, specifically the different types of oral mucosa that we have available to us in the oral cavity. Stay tuned for more anatomical conversations coming to you shortly.
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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