Gooms…excuse me, do you mean Gums?

My grandpa, James Carroll Bagley, would inexplicably refer to his gingiva, or the periodontium, (proper terms) as his “gooms”. I’m not sure where that pronunciation comes from, but as I said before, the “gooms” or “gums,” (as they are commonly called) or periodontium, are the key to preserving the bone around the implant and the implant itself. Sadly, many practitioners neglect this simple, yet critical aspect of implantology. The main reason is really pretty simple.

Why is there a disconnect?

In the mouth are two main types of tissue (like the skin) or coverings: 

  • Gingiva
  • Mucosa

(Check out this Video about Gingiva and Mucosa)

Gingiva is the pink tissue near the teeth while mucosa is the pink stuff on the cheeks and around the tongue. Mucosa is very fragile and not very resilient (just remember the last time you bit your cheek)! Gingiva, on the other hand, absorbs all the chewing forces of food around the teeth, and must withstand tougher forces related to chewing.

Gingiva, that touches the teeth is “attached gingiva” and this tissue is worth it’s weight in gold (almost literally). We refer to it as “attached” because it is rigidly attached to the bone around the teeth.

This type of tissue is thicker and much more resilient to chewing forces due to being attached directly to the bone. Push on it – it won’t move. This is the magic stuff that creates a tight seal around the implant and quite literally saves the day! Without it, an implant will suffer chronic irritation and eventually bone loss and implant failure. 

Check out this article about Mucogingival Junction to understand more.


The good news regarding attached gingiva: if there isn’t enough (or any) around an implant, it is nearly always correctable with a simple gingival surgery. And there are two main types of gingival surgery to correct a tissue deficiency: autografting (using your own tissue) and allografting (using a donor tissue, from a tissue bank).

Setup a free consultation today to see if any of this might work for you!

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About the Author

Dr. Ryan Zentz

Dr. Ryan Zentz

Dr. Zentz was born and raised in Spokane, Washington, and he graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Zoology and an emphasis on Human Anatomy and Physiology. Dr. Zentz then attended the University of Washington School of Dentistry, where he received the Charles L. Bolender Award for academic and clinical excellence in prosthodontics.