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Periodontics/Interdental papilla damage


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

Hello Gonzalo:

Its good that you are cleaning interdentally.  Its not good that you are too vigorous.  In general, if the distance from the bone to the contact point of the teeth is 5mm or less the papilla will regrow.  If it is 6mm you have about a 50:50 chance, and over 6mm minimal change of that happening.  If the papilla is going to regrow I would think 4-6 months is probably a reasonable time frame.

I would recommend that the next time you get your teeth cleaned that you ask to have your flossing technique checked.  It is important that you continue to clean between your teeth, but to do so in a way that does not cause hear.  

Best of Luck

Dr. David Scharf
Long Island Periodontist


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David Scharf


I am a board Certified periodontist which means that I am an expert in treating gum disease (periodontal disease) and placing dental implants. I can answer questions related to treating gum disease, bleeding gums, maintaining healthy gums, and structural issues with the gums such as recession, to gummy a smile, crown lengthening etc. I am also certified in Laser Periodontal therapy which allows me to treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel. I can address those questions as well.


I have been practicing periodontics and placing dental implants since 1990. I have treated thousands of patients for both gum disease and dental implants. I currently an a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at the nations largest dental school.

Journal of the American Dental Association, Journal of Periodontology, International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, International Journal of Oral and Maxilofacial Implants

BA/DMD Boston University Cum Laud. Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Periodontics fro New York University. Board Certification in Periodontics 1995

Awards and Honors
e was elected to Omicron Kappa Upsilon (the "Phi Beta Kappa" for dentists), and received the Boston University award for Excellence in Periodontology, the Boston University Predoctoral Prosthetic Award for Excellence in Prosthetics, and the Academy of General Dentistry Outstanding Senior Student Award, the Boston University Operative Dentistry Special Achievement Award, and the Quintessence Publishing Company Outstanding Senior Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice. Following dental school, Dr. Scharf completed a year long General Practice Residency at The Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. As a resident at this top New York program, he gained extensive clinical experience in such fields as prothodontics, periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics, oral surgery, management of the medically compromised patient, and general dentistry. This experience was completed by clinical rotations in the departments of general medicine, anesthesia, and emergency medicine.

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