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Nov 2011

Traditional Gingival Tattooing of Maxillary Denture

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: School of Medicine, The George Washington University, Washington, DC (Mr Tinklepaugh); Division of Dermatology, Georgetown University/Washington Hospital Center, Chevy Chase, Maryland (Dr Norton).

Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(11):1334-1335. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.314

Most societies practice traditional body modifications, but these practices often seem unusual to observers from outside the particular society. This is the case with traditional tattooing of the upper gingiva, which is common among some populations in Africa's Sahel region. Herein we describe a woman from Senegal, West Africa, whose denture covered her traditionally tattooed gums. To overcome the concealment of her tattooed gums, she had the gingival part of her denture pigmented in the same blue-gray hue as her tattooed mucosa, thus replicating the appearance of a traditional gingival tattoo.