When you look at your teeth in the mirror, you're likely to see a band of tissue surrounding the teeth at the spot where they meet your gums. That band of tissue at the base of the tooth is known as keratinized tissue or keratinized mucosa, explains the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. When all is well with your mouth, the tissue will be securely attached to your teeth, feel firm to the touch and range from pink to brown in color, depending on your skin tone.
The keratinized tissue doesn't only hold your natural teeth in place. The tissue helps protect the roots of the teeth and plays an important role when it comes to the appearance of your smile, since the gums cover up the roots and keep the teeth from looking too long.
If you need dental implants, the tissue also provides support to the replacement teeth and may help improve the success of the implants. Depending on the amount of keratinized tissue you naturally have around your teeth, your dentist might consider adding more tissue when placing an implant.