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Although dark gums may be healthy, some patients find them unattractive and seek measures to lighten them. This cosmetic procedure goes by several names including dark gum treatment, gum bleaching, gum depigmentations and other variations. The gum bleaching treatment is considered aesthetic because the purpose of this process is to improve the appearance of a patient's smile.


Dark gums are caused by 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 descent 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), salicyc acid, metal-based crowns and restorations, and some systemic diseases.


The most modern approach to gum bleaching involves the use of a machine to remove the dark pigmentation on the gums. Although many cosmetic dentists who perform this treatment may use surgical procedures, the most modern approach is quick and comfortable, minimally invasive, and allows the patient to receive the treatment painlessly and safely to remove discoloration on their gums.


Who is a good candidate?

Patients who are interested in this cosmetic procedure should already have healthy gums and practice good oral hygiene. If your gums are swollen or inflamed due to gum disease, your cosmetic dentist will have to address these issues before the dark gum treatment can begin.

How long does the treatment take?

The treatment can be complete in one office visit and a patient with dark gums can leave the office with pink gums.

How long does the gum depigmentation treatment last?

One gum depigmentation treatment can least 20 years, or even up to a lifetime.

What is the healing process like?

Patients should 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.

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