Healthy gums are usually pink or reddish, but gums can also be dark or discolored. The condition may be normal (due to genetics or ethnicity) or it can be caused by certain diseases. While usually not a serious health issue, dark gums are an aesthetic concern for some people. If dark or black gums are bothering you, help is on the way. Most cases of dark gums are treatable.
What Causes Dark and Discolored Gums?
It is a normal for dark-skinned people to have darker gums due to a higher concentration of melanin in the skin. But light-skinned folks can also have dark or black gums due to excessive sun exposure that increase melanin production. Another cause of dark gums is plaque buildup on and under the gum line or between the teeth. Hardened plaque (tartar) and gum disease may cause naturally-pink gums to darken. Medications (minocyline and some antidepressants) can also cause permanent discoloration. Rarely, dental procedures like crowns, dentures and fillings may also darken gums. Gums spotting (dark grey or blue spots) develop when particles from a filling or a cap are lodged into the gums.
What is Black Gum Disease?
Black gum disease (also called acute necrotizing periodontal disease) is an infection that damages the gum tissue and causes pain, bleeding, foul odor and blackened gums. Black gum disease is serious and needs immediate treatment; otherwise, the disease can spread to the cartilage and bones surrounding the teeth.
How is Gum Discoloration Treated?
There are different treatments for dark or black gums; your periodontist will identify the kind of treatment that best suits your condition. Gum bleaching, laser gum treatment and surgery are some options. Using lasers (water lease system), painless gum bleaching gives permanent results in just an hour.
Surgery involves removing the gum’s outer layer to expose the lighter layer underneath. Sometimes, tissue may need to be transplanted. Surgery usually involves no discomfort or complications, and results can be seen after one to two days. The procedure can be repeated as necessary to achieve the result you want.
Dr. Gary Bram is an experienced cosmetic dentist specializing in the treatment of dark gums and gum discoloration. Visit our office today or call to set an appointment!