While discoloration on your gums is usually harmless, it can negatively impact self-confidence and make you reluctant to smile. For this reason, many patients undergo gum whitening, a cosmetic procedure to remove dark spots to enhance the appearance of their gums. Also known as gingival depigmentation, this process involves eliminating the melanin that causes dark spots. This is done in one of two ways. The first is by applying a whitening solution and then gently removing the top layer of the gum. The second, and more modern way, is by using a laser treatment.
Because gum whitening addresses the root cause of the pigmentation, the results are permanent. Moreover, as a cosmetic procedure, gum whitening is minimally invasive and rarely poses health risks. However, not everybody is eligible for this procedure. Dr. Trujillo will evaluate your gum health to determine if you are a candidate.
After assessing the condition of your gums, Dr. Trujillo will work with you to determine how to move forward in a way that is comfortable for you. Read on to learn more about the benefits of gum whitening and to find out if you qualify for this procedure.
Why Do I Have Gum Discoloration?
Dark spots on your gums are typically not a cause for concern. They can be caused by things that are not related to your dental health, such as external bruising or ethnicity. Generally, darker-skinned individuals are more susceptible to gum discoloration. Pigmentation may also occur due to smoking or cavity fillings. The latter situation occurs when a substance called amalgam (which is used for dental fillings) is accidentally left on a patient’s gums. Finally, gum discoloration may form as a result of a melanotic macule, a harmless freckle that may appear near your teeth or other parts of the body.
Pigmentation on the gums can also be a symptom of periodontal disease or oral cancer. In these cases, the patient usually experiences other symptoms such as swelling or bleeding. Dr. Trujillo can evaluate your gums and help determine if the issue is a cosmetic one or a more serious case.
What Are The Benefits of Gum Whitening?
As a cosmetic procedure, gum whitening does not affect or enhance gum health. Its central function is to make patients feel better about the appearance of their teeth and gums. Here are some of the main benefits of the procedure:
- Relatively quick
- Minimally invasive
- Permanent solution
- Confidence boosting
Most gum whitening sessions take between thirty to sixty minutes and use a microdermabrasion technique. This removes the pigmented skin to expose the healthy, bright pink gum tissue that lies underneath. This process is minimally invasive, but patients may receive a local anesthetic or IV sedation to make the procedure more comfortable. The results of gum whitening are permanent because the dark spots are fully removed. Patients do not have to worry about these spots recurring. Most importantly, gum whitening helps make patients feel confident about their smiles.
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of tools in your mouth, you may opt for a laser treatment instead. Like the microdermabrasion procedure, laser treatment is minimally invasive and can be completed in a single office visit. Some patients may be better suited for certain treatments than others. Dr. Trujillo will discuss the best option for you before moving forward.
Are There Any Side Effects of Gum Whitening?
Side effects are usually minimal because gum whitening is a surface-level procedure. Many patients do not have any side effects at all and can both speak and eat normally after the session. However, patients with sensitive gums may experience some discomfort. In this case, patients should avoid hard or chewy foods that may cause further stress on the teeth and gums. In most cases, the discomfort should resolve after a short period of time.
The majority of patients will be able to resume their daily lives immediately after their gum whitening appointment. However, it’s important to determine whether or not you are the right candidate for this procedure.
Do I Qualify for Gum Whitening?
Gum whitening is for patients that have surface-level pigmentation on their gum. It will not help patients whose pigmentation is caused by a serious issue, such as oral cancer or periodontal disease. In these cases, the underlying disease needs to be treated to relieve the symptoms. These diseases are often caused by poor oral hygiene and can be diagnosed through a gum biopsy. Periodontal disease may also arise as a result of smoking.
Another issue that disqualifies candidates from a gum whitening procedure is having thin gums. During gum whitening, there is a risk that the procedure may expose your root surfaces, which is not ideal. When a tooth root is no longer protected by the gum, the patient may experience sensitivity and pain. Thus, having strong, healthy gums is key to a successful gum whitening procedure. Dr. Trujillo will not move forward with the procedure if he determines this is an issue.
Gum Whitening in Phoenix, Arizona
If you are looking for a way to enhance the appearance of your gums, then gum whitening might be the solution for you. Our team at Arizona Periodontal Group will evaluate your gums to determine if you are a candidate. We will also walk you through the process and have a discussion to determine the best course of action. Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more!