, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 537-544
Date: 06 Jan 2013

Esthetic treatment of gingival hyperpigmentation with Nd:YAG laser or scalpel technique: a 6-month RCT of patient and professional assessment

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This double-masked, randomized controlled trial with a split-mouth design aimed to compare patient- and professional-centered outcomes using different therapeutic approaches—neodymium–yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) laser or scalpel technique—for gingival depigmentation. Patients presenting bilateral melanin gingival hyperpigmentation and who requested cosmetic therapy were recruited. Contralateral quadrants were randomly assigned to receive Nd:YAG laser (settings: 6 W, 60 mJ/pulse, and 100 Hz) or scalpel technique. Patient morbidity experienced at intratherapy and during the first postoperative week was evaluated. In addition, after 6 months, the cosmetic results achieved for the different therapeutic approaches were evaluated by patients and professionals. The chair time of each technique was also calculated. Patient-oriented outcomes concerning intratherapy morbidity did not demonstrate any differences between groups (p > 0.05), although a higher extent of discomfort/pain was experienced in the side treated by the scalpel technique compared to the Nd:YAG laser procedure during the first posttherapy week (p < 0.05). Regarding to cosmetic outcomes, no differences between techniques were observed for patient and professionals (p > 0.05). Significantly higher chair time was required for the scalpel technique than for the Nd:YAG laser therapy (p < 0.05). The Nd:YAG laser or the scalpel technique may be successfully used for the treatment of melanin gingival hyperpigmentation. However, the use of the Nd:YAG laser has presented advantages in terms of less discomfort/pain during the posttherapy period and a reduction of treatment chair time.