Periodontics/Cut papilla


Missing papilla
Missing papilla  
Hello Doctor,

Recently I have realized that I have been doing for some long time an aggressive interdental flossing and the tips of the papilla seem to be cut. For one papilla on the upper right side and and other in the lower left side between the molars and premolars there is about 1mm missing form the crowns point of contact to the papilla.

As you can see in the photo in the lower side I already have damage done by aggressive flosing and tooth grinding, but the upper side is doing very well in that regard.

I have already changed my flossing style and I am much more careful now. But for the damage already done can I expect some regrowth? If so, ┐How much time for this? Example: 1 month, 6 month, 1 year, never...

Thank you and best regards

If the papillae are lost as a result of trauma only, such as too aggressive cleaning, they will eventually regrow when the trauma is no longer there. This will take several months.

Very often, however, the papillae do not fill the whole interdental space to begin with, due to anatomical reasons. If the teeth are not very close to each other or if the contact point is located far from the gum line, then the papilla can not fill the whole space. Also, as a result of gingivitis and with advancing age, the tip of the papilla tends to shrink and round up so that small empty spaces appear.

To preserve the papillae, the most important thing is to floss daily and to make sure that the floss glides along the tooth surface and does not damage the gum when it is inserted between the teeth. Gum infection is more harmful to the papillae than is any kind of cleaning between the teeth.


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Marketta Hormia, DDS, PhD


I am a periodontist living and working in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, where I have my private dental practice. I am an international member of the American Academy of Periodontology. I have a Ph.D degree and a long background in research and teaching at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Turku, Finland. I function as an adjunct Professor at these Universities. I have also worked as a visiting scientist at the Scripps Clinic and research Foundation, la Jolla, CA. I can answer any question in the fields of dentistry and periodontics.


Private practitioner in Helsinki, Finland over 20 years. Former researcher and teacher at two Finnish Universities.

The Finnish Society of Dentists, Division of Periodontology, American academy of Periodontology

Over 30 scientific research articles published in peer-reviewed international scientific journals (can be found on PubMed)

D.D.S., Ph.D, Specialist in Periodontology. Adjunct Professor.

Awards and Honors
Visiting Scientist at the Scripps Research Foundation, San Diego, California, 1992-1994. NIH grant

Past/Present Clients
Dental patients, national and international. All kinds of dental, oral and temporomandibular joint problems

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