Also known as gingival hyperpigmentation, or gingival pigmentation, those brown or black skin splotches that sometimes occur naturally on gum tissue are normally caused by excess melanin, natural pigments also found in our hair and even eyes. Individuals most commonly affected are those with dark skin. Smoking and long-term use of particular medications can also cause this hyperpigmentation on the gum tissue, but more often than not it’s just the result of genetics. In any case, patient concerns are normally just aesthetic ones.
At the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics, we use the latest technology, the patented PerioLase® MPV-7 laser, to safely and successfully treat these dark gum splotches in a process we call gum-depigmentation. The procedure normally takes less than an hour and results last decades.
Some practices treat gum hyperpigmentation with a process called “gum bleaching.” But the splotches or “melanocytes” that cause the discoloration aren’t removed with bleaching, just the pigment cells they release. With “bleaching” the melanocytes continue to produce the pigment that causes the discoloration. Therefore, the laser treatment is far superior for long-term results.
Remember: In most instances, there’s nothing physically wrong with having dark gums. But if you’re unhappy with the appearance of your smile due to dark spots on your gums, make an appointment today to see how we can help!