Gums play a vital role in the appearance of your smile. Healthy gums and beautiful teeth go hand in hand to create an attractive smile. If you feel that dark colored gums are taking the attention away from your beautiful healthy teeth, then laser gum depigmentation is a great solution. Pigmented gums can make you feel self-conscious when you smile and all the effort that you have put into your pearly whites goes down the drain.
Although dark gums in most cases are not a health concern and only a cosmetic issue, it can be fixed easily with laser depigmentation. Also called ‘gum bleaching’, ‘gum whitening’ or ‘gum lightening’ it uses precision laser light energy to lighten the gums and surrounding tissue to its natural healthy coral color. The procedure is pain-free and very effective and gives you amazing results in very less time. It is especially helpful for people who show more than average amount of gums when they smile also called a ‘gummy smile’
Why do some people have dark gums?
The common cause of darkening of gums which is also called ‘gingival hyperpigmentation’ is genetics People whose gums have an excess of melanin look dark. Melanin is the naturally present pigment that is produced by specialized cells in the body called Melanocytes. It gives color to your skin, hair, and eyes.
Although it is seen in people of all races, dark gums are more common in people with naturally darker skin color. This hyperpigmentation is natural and does not indicate any health issue or disease. It can be spread throughout the gum tissue or concentrated to some areas of the mouth leading to dark spots.
Smoking is another factor that contributes to gum pigmentation since it can also stimulate melanin pigmentation. It is called smoker’s melanosis. The intensity of pigmentation is proportional to the duration of smoking and the number of cigarettes smoked. The nicotine present in tobacco stimulates the melanocytes to produce excess melanin. The result is brown or black colored gums. Besides this certain hormonal disorders like Addison’s disease can also cause darkening of the skin as well as the gums. Side effects from certain medications like minocycline which is commonly used for the treatment of acne and antimalarial medications can also increase the melanin content of gums leading to darkening. Metal crowns and silver fillings are also known as Amalgam fillings can also cause dark gums.
The procedure of Gum Depigmentation:
Your dentist will apply a gentle laser carefully and evenly to lighten your gums. The melanin in the gums is expertly targeted so that the uppermost layer of the gums that houses the melanin-producing cells.e. melanocytes is destroyed to expose the lighter gum tissue that lies underneath. The melanocytes present in the uppermost layer that produces excess melanin are ablated and damaged so that melanin is no longer produced. So you get gums that are lighter in shade, coral pink and healthy looking. This process sounds harsh, but in reality, is fairly painless.
The amount of gum tissue exposed to laser light depends on the amount seen when you smile. So if only the upper gums are visible when you smile then your dentist will recommend treating only that part. This is a cosmetic procedure and you should decide along with the advice of your dentist the areas that should receive depigmentation. Any specific spots or area that needs to be lightened can also be targeted.
Your treatment will be customized according to the degree of discoloration and color saturation. Some patients may experience mild sensitivity after the procedure which can be relieved by over the counter pain medications.
What are the benefits of laser gum depigmentation?
This technique has many benefits and offers long-lasting results.
- The procedure is quick and pain-free and without any surgery or stitches.
- The healing period is very short and so patients can return to normal activity immediately after the procedure.
- Most patients need only a single visit to complete the treatment.
- It is completely safe with no side effects.
- There are no restrictions in relation to food and drinks.
Who are candidates for gum depigmentation?
During your initial evaluation, your dentist will check your gums to make sure that you are a candidate for this procedure. You should have healthy gums free of disease or infection. Patients with advanced gum disease i.e. periodontitis need to get treated prior to treatment. Very thin gums also cannot undergo the treatment as this procedure can expose the root surface.
How Long Does the Gum Depigmentation Treatment Last?
If properly cared for the gums, then depigmentation treatment can last anywhere between 20 years to a lifetime.
Other procedures for gum depigmentation:
Traditionally, prior to the advent of lasers, gum darkening was treated by scraping it with a scalpel or abrading with rotary devices. This type of treatment is more invasive and painful with longer healing time.
Caring for your gums after the treatment:
You should follow healthy oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice a day and flossing. Cut down on food and beverage laden with sugar. Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco as it can lead to regimentation. If you are taking medications that have darkened your gums, it is advisable to talk to your physician to have them changed to prevent darkening again.
There are experienced and internationally trained Periodontists i.e. gum specialists in Mumbai, India who offer gum surgery and other gum treatments including laser gum depigmentation and gum contouring at affordable costs. They use the latest techniques and advanced technology to provide high-quality treatments in a very cost-effective way. The final cost of laser depigmentation will depend on the saturation, depth, and location of the pigmentation.