When it comes to creating the perfect smile, many people focus on the color of their teeth and fail to consider improving their gums. You may have the whitest and straightest teeth in the world, but hyperpigmentation in your gums may leave you unsatisfied with what you see in the mirror. If you dislike the look of your gums and feel that they are too dark or patchy, then gum bleaching may be the procedure for you.
What is gum bleaching?
Gum bleaching, also referred to as gum depigmentation, is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that can reduce the hyperpigmentation in your gum tissue to leave you with a brighter, more natural coral-colored gum line.
Hyperpigmentation in your gingival tissue can make your gums look darker, brown, spotted, and unhealthy, even if they are well taken care of. This hyperpigmentation can simply be genetic. Although there is nothing wrong with genetically darker gums, many people with a darker skin tone prefer a lighter looking gum line and choose to bleach their gums for cosmetic reasons. Aside from genetics, dark gums can also be caused by certain medications, smoking, and silver fillings.
The leading causes of gum hyperpigmentation
- Smoking: People who have smoked for many years can suffer from a condition known as ‘smoker’s melanosis’, which causes the tissue of their gums to go brown or black.
- Medications: Antimalarial agents, certain tranquilizers, and other prescription medications are known to cause gum discoloration if taken for an extended time. This hyperpigmentation can be permanent even after you stop taking the drug.
- Genetics: In the vast majority of cases, dark gums are connected to skin complexion. Those with fairer skin tend to have paler, pinker gums, whereas those with darker complexions often experience more pigmentation inside their mouths. In some cases, this pigmentation can look patchy or may only affect a portion of the gum line. Although darker gums are natural for people with darker complexions, for cosmetic reasons, it is not uncommon for individuals to request a gum bleaching or gum depigmentation treatment.
- Gum disease: Gum disease is widespread and can also cause discoloration of the gums. If your hyperpigmentation is caused by gum disease, then it is essential to have your gum disease treated first, after which the remaining hyperpigmentation can be treated to restore your gums to their previous color.
- Systemic diseases: Another possible cause for hyperpigmentation in the gums or lips is due to increased melanin as a result of systemic diseases such as Peutz Jeghers Syndrome and Addison’s disease.
- Old metal fillings: Lastly, if you have an old metallic filling, such as silver filling, over time shavings from the metal can embed themselves into your gum line, causing dark spots and discoloration. This is also known as an amalgam tattoo.
The benefits of gum bleaching
For most people, the main benefit of gum bleaching or depigmentation is simply the ability to have a more natural, paler gum color that then provides them the confidence they need to show their smile.
The laser depigmentation procedure is quick and efficient so that you can get back to your daily routine with virtually no down-time, and to prevent any discomfort, your mouth will be numbed by a member of our dental team before the procedure starts. As a non-invasive procedure, laser gum whitening also enables you to leave the practice with same-day results and allows you to eat and drink again straight away.
To summarize, some of the main benefits of laser gum whitening are:
- Fast, natural-looking results.
- No invasive surgery.
- No downtime.
- A short recovery time.
- The ability to eat and drink again straight away.
- No needles or discomfort.
How does laser gum bleaching work?
Gum depigmentation can be achieved with one of two main procedures – bleaching with a laser, or the removal of melatonin-containing cells with microdermabrasion.
Microdermabrasion used to be the traditional method of choice and involved the application of a whitening gel and then the removal of any remaining melanin-containing cells with a microdermabrasion tool.
Today, thanks to the innovation of laser technology, a specialized laser can be used in place of microdermabrasion to gently, safely, and non-invasively whiten the gum line.
During the laser gum whitening procedure, an FDA approved dental laser is used to remove the top pigment from the gums to reveal their paler, more natural color beneath. As a much less invasive procedure, patients who undergo laser gum bleaching can enjoy a much shorter recovery time and can go back to their normal routine almost immediately.
Aftercare following laser gum whitening
Although laser gum depigmentation is non-invasive, it is still essential for patients to follow the aftercare instructions provided by their dentist. Thankfully, these instructions are very simple and easy to follow, and you will be back to your normal diet and routine in no time at all.
Are you a good candidate for gum bleaching?
If you have brown or black gums that you are not happy with, then you could be the perfect candidate for gum whitening. During your initial consultation, Dr. Newhart will assess the cause of your hyperpigmentation and will advise you on the best course of action. So long as you do not have particularly thin gum tissue, then it is highly likely that you will get the go-ahead for a gum-whitening procedure.
Why choose Dr. Newhart to perform your gum whitening procedure?
Although gum-whitening may be non-invasive, it is still essential to have the procedure carried out by a qualified dental professional. Dr. Richart Newhart is a Periodontist (gum disease specialist) who has been serving the Mid-Ohio Valley since 1989. Keen to continue learning the very latest in periodontal treatment and technology, Dr. Newhart underwent additional training in laser periodontics, oral surgery, and low-level laser biostimulation so that he could pass on the benefits from these cutting edge procedures to his patients. With more than 30 years of experience treating all manner of gum diseases and cosmetic issues, he is best placed to conduct any gum-related procedure. If you would like to have a consultation with Dr. Newhart to talk about gum bleaching, simply call or schedule an appointment online today.