Although dark gums may be healthy, some patients find them unattractive and seek measures to lighten them. This procedure goes under several names including dark gum treatment, gum bleaching, gum depigmentation and other variations on the name. The gum bleaching treatment is considered aesthetic because the patients who have the dark gums treatment elect to have the procedure done to improve the appearance of their smiles.
“Photo courtesy of Dr. Tom Hedge”
Dark gums are caused by what is called hyperpigmentation, a darkening of an area of skin that is caused by melanin. Melanin pigmentation can often be attributed to genetics, and people with darker skin tones and particularly of Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean or African decent are more prone to hyperpigmentation. Dark gums can affect people of all races and ethnicities genetically, but there are also other causes to dark gums that can be cited.
Poor dental hygiene can result in bacteria buildup on your teeth and gums. This can eventually result in the development of gum disease, which in turn can affect gum pigmentation. Smoking can also be a major contributing factor to gum hyperpigmentation, and studies have shown that smokers are more at risk for these issues. Other factors that may contribute to dark gums include certain medications such as minocycline (a periodontal infection treatment), salicylic acid, metal-based crowns and restorations, and some systemic diseases.
The most modern approach to gum bleaching involves the use of a dental laser to remove the dark pigmentation on the gums. Although many dentists who perform this procedure may use surgical procedures, the modern approach dentists utilize is the Waterlase MD Laser. The Waterlase Laser is minimally invasive, avoids the stress of needles, and allows patients to receive the dark gums treatment painlessly and safely to remove discoloration on their gums. This soft tissue laser is also used to treat gum disease amongst various other applications.
Patients who are interested in this procedure should already have healthy gums and practice good oral hygiene. If your gums are swollen or inflamed due to gum disease your dentist will have to address these issues before the dark gum treatment can begin.
How Long Does the Treatment Take?
The dark gums treatment can be completed in one office visit and a patient with dark gums can leave the dentist with pink gums.
Is the Procedure Invasive?
If your dentist uses a Waterlase Laser or equivalent, surgery should not be required nor will extensive sedation.
How Long Does the Gum Depigmentation Treatment Last?
One gum depigmentation treatment can last 20 years or up to a lifetime.
What Is the Healing Process Like?
Patients who utilize a dental laser can expect minor discomfort and no complications after the treatment. Patients with very sensitive gums may experience some discomfort for a short period of time. Patients can expect to be able to speak and eat normally immediately after the treatment is completed.
The cost of the gum bleaching treatment will vary depending on the degree, depth and location of the discoloration. Each patient will have to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis to determine how much treatment they require and how much they can expect to pay for gum bleaching.
Dr. Hedge and Dr. Frazar, offer dark gum bleaching treatment for patients who want to get rid of their dark or brown-colored gums.
Learn how the Houston cometic dentists can help you with gum bleaching for your gum pigmentation removal.