The gingiva is divided into two distinct zones: free gingiva and attached gingiva. The free gingiva surrounds the tooth forming a sulcus (or crevice) next to the tooth. On the facial surface of the gingiva, a shallow depression called the free gingival groove separates the unattached gingiva from the attached gingiva. The attached gingiva is firm and tightly attached to the underlying alveolar bone. The width of the attached gingival is greater in adults than in children.
In a healthy state, the gingiva has a stippled appearance. It is also pale pink and free of bleeding. The color of the gingiva varies by the degree of vascularity, epithelial keratinization, pigmentation and thickness of the epithelium.