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J Esthet Restor Dent. 2009;21(2):113-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1708-8240.2009.00242.x.

Gingival zenith positions and levels of the maxillary anterior dentition.

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Department of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry, College of Dentistry, New York University, New York, NY, USA.



The location of the gingival zenith in a medial-lateral position relative to the vertical tooth axis of the maxillary anterior teeth remains to be clearly defined. In addition, the apex of the free gingival margin of the lateral incisor teeth relative to the gingival zeniths of the adjacent proximal teeth remains undetermined. Therefore, this investigation evaluated two clinical parameters: (1) the gingival zenith position (GZP) from the vertical bisected midline (VBM) along the long axis of each individual maxillary anterior tooth; and (2) the gingival zenith level (GZL) of the lateral incisors in an apical-coronal direction relative to the gingival line joining the tangents of the GZP of the adjacent central incisor and canine teeth under healthy conditions.


A total of 240 sites in 20 healthy patients (13 females, 7 males) with an average age of 27.7 years were evaluated. The inclusion patient criteria were absence of periodontal disease, gingival recession, or gingival hypertrophy as well as teeth without loss of interdental papillae, spacing, crowding, existing restorations, and incisal attrition. GZP dimensions were measured with calibrated digital calipers for each individual tooth and within each tooth group in a medial-lateral direction from the VBM. GZLs were measured in an apical-coronal direction from a tangent line drawn on the diagnostic casts from the GZPs of the adjacent teeth.


This study demonstrated that all central incisors displayed a distal GZP from the VBM, with a mean average of 1 mm. Lateral incisors showed a deviation of the gingival zenith by a mean of 0.4 mm. In 97.5% of the canine population, the GZP was centralized along the long axis of the canine. The mean distance of the contour of the gingival margin in an apical-coronal direction of the lateral incisors (GZL) relative to gingival line joining the tangent of the adjacent central and canine GZPs was approximately 1 mm.


This investigation revealed a GZP mean value of 1 mm distal from the VBM for the central incisor tooth group. The lateral incisors showed a mean average of 0.4 mm. The canine tooth group demonstrated almost no deviations of the GZP from the VBM. The GZL of the lateral incisors relative to the adjacent central incisor and canine teeth were more coronal by approximately 1 mm. These data could be used as reference points during esthetic anterior oral rehabilitation.


The information presented in this article can be clinically applied to reestablish the proper intratooth GZPs of the maxillary anterior teeth during periodontal crown lengthening or root coverage procedures. In addition, the intra-arch gingival level of the lateral incisor gingival zenith relative to the adjacent central and canine teeth can be appropriately established.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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