Discolored Gums, Causes And Treatments
Most people when they think of an attractive smile only ponder white teeth. They don’t realize that discolored gums can really take a toll on the overall appearance of the mouth. Healthy pink gums make teeth stand out, while dark gums just fall flat. It should be noted here that even healthy gums can be discolored.
What Causes Discolored Gums?
If your gums are healthy, they're normally pink. However if melanin (a chemical that contributes to tanning and skin tone) builds up in the gums, they can turn brown or even appear black. For smokers the discoloration is even worse. Beyond this various medical conditions, prescription drugs, and oral diseases can cause discoloration.
Treating Discolored Gums?
The exact treatment for discolored gums will vary depending on the root cause. If you have perfectly healthy gums, there are laser-based gum lightening treatments available. The great part about laser treatments is that you’re usually done with just a few a one- hour treatments!
There are also medications that can be used to lighten the color of gums. Neither method is guaranteed to be permanent. While some people may see long-term results, others must have treatments again after about 2 years.
Most insurance companies consider both approaches a type of cosmetic surgery (for people with healthy gums) and will not cover the cost, so you may have to look into payment options if you plan on this avenue for gum lightening.
When a person’s gums become discolored from periodontal disease, a different approach must occur – namely getting the gums healthy again. Periodontal disease infects both the bone and tissue surrounding teeth. It begins with plaque buildup, that’s filled with germs.
These germs are damaging to the gums. When plaque remains in place, the germ trapped therein lead to infection (and thus discolored gums).
Treatments for periodontal disease include scaling and root planning to remove all tartar and plaque below the gum level (which in turn removes toxins). In more serious cases a person may require surgery to repair the degeneration of gums and teeth.
The good news is that the treatment alone may eliminate gum discoloration and return your gums to their healthy pink hue, and periodontal treatments are usually covered by good dental plans.
If your gums still do not recover their normal color, then you may have to consider the alternative of cosmetic treatments.
There are three main causes of discolored gums: smoking, melanin buildup, and gum disease. In addition certain physical conditions and medications can contribute to gum discoloration. Gums can be perfectly healthy and still experience discoloration.
The two most common treatments for this embarrassing problem are topical whiteners and laser treatment. Neither approach is guaranteed to last and many patients find they must have procedures redone after 2 years.
Individuals with gum disease must seek treatment for that before embarking on any gum whitening protocol.
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