Most people focus on making sure their teeth are pearly white, and in perfect condition. But what they do not realize, is that keeping their gums healthy is just as important. Dentists often advise patients to brush along the gum line to prevent plaque build up in harder to reach areas of the mouth. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, affects about half of American adults, and it can cause severe discoloration. A person with gum disease might have black or brownish gums because of an excess of melanin, which can be caused by the inflammation that too much plaque induces. Along with discoloration, gum disease can be painful, causing a patient a great deal of discomfort.
To help people who suffer from discolored gums, there are cosmetic dental procedures that can remove the darkened color. Gum bleaching eliminates the excess melanin in the gums by breaking it down. There are stores that sell a topical bleaching ointment that can be smeared on top of the gums, but laser gum lightening can be a faster, longer-lasting treatment than over the counter bleaching agents. These lasers target the cells that produce melanin in the gums, reducing their ability to produce the pigment. As a results, gums look more naturally pink.
In addition to depigmentation, periodontal disease can cause uneven gums. This is when the gum line is not evenly distributed among your teeth; the gums are either too high up on your teeth, or too low. High gum lines are often caused by gum recession, which can cause a great deal of pain because it increases the chances that your tooth’s roots will be exposed. Gum recession treatment includes periodontic tissue grafting, where skin is cut from the roof of your mouth, and attached to the gums of over-exposed teeth. Laser gum treatment is also a viable alternative to tissue grafting, and can be a less painful solution to uneven gums.
Even with all of these options, it is important to remember that the best way to keep your gums healthy is by following dentists’ advice to brush at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day. People who have periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop heart problems, so if you do develop a gum condition that causes discoloration or uneven gums despite your daily efforts, consult your dentist immediately, and find a dental clinic near you for treatment. It might cost you more than $500 for one treatment alone, but it will be well worth preserving your overall health.