Are you worried about darker shades of your gums and looking for a solution? Well, there are ways to get rid of hyperpigmentation; however, before heading to the treatment options I would like to emphasis that you are not the only person with darker gums(gingiva). Like our skin tone, gums are also unique in nature and varies from person to person. Nothing to feel inferior about, it is purely an aesthetic modality until and unless overridden by pathological conditions.
Possible reasons for pigmented gums :
It could be physiological or sometimes pathological too. For some people, as a natural process, their gums are hyperpigmented which are often influenced by their gene, race and ethnics. Increased melanin, carotene, iron, bilirubin, oxyhemoglobin are some of the natural cause for hyperpigmentation of gums. Nevertheless, certain pathological changes like hormonal imbalance, heavy-metal poison, medication, smoking and tobacco, other abnormal changes in the mucosa of the oral cavity could also influence the gum colour.
Treatment options :
Various treatment options are available; however, skin colour, the extent of pigmentation, upper lip curvature and aesthetic concern are all must be considered before planning for depigmentation procedure.
Chemical method :
Chemicals like ascorbic acid, alcohol are used on the gums to remove pigmentation. It inhibits melanin formation and delaying in repigmentation has also been noticed.
Gingival abrasion :
Here, the superficial layer of the epithelium is denuded to remove pigmentation
- Non – invasive method
- increased treatment duration
- post-treatment pain
- need to have dressed at the surgical site for about a week or two
- high recurrence rate
Scalpel Surgical technique :
In this technique, the outer epithelium is excised leaving the inner connective tissue to repair by secondary healing
- simple procedure
- most economical
- low recurrence rate
- requires less time and effort
- pain and post-operative discomfort
- bleeding during and after the procedure
- requires periodontal dressing
Free gingival grafting :
It is nothing but masking the pigmentation with grafting material, either from your own tissue preferably from the palate or the with synthetic material. However, it requires two surgical sites. Post-operative pain and discomfort are predominant. Moreover, it gives a ghost-like appearance when compared to the adjacent tissue. These drawbacks are more likely overcome by synthetic material, but those are extremely expensive though.
In this method, heat generates by the transmission of high-frequency electrical energy to the tissue causes cutting or coagulation of targeted tissue.
- Controlled bleeding
- better tissue contouring
- less scar on the surgical site
- Pain and discomfort during the initial healing time
Lasers are advancing modern technology nowadays and it has optimal efficacy in gingival hyperpigmentation.
- Enhanced hemostatic ability
- postoperatively it has less or very minimal pain, bleed, discomfort, swelling and infection
- better wound healing
- effective and safe treatment modality
- better aesthetics
- Not a cost-effective one, as it requires specialized instruments and set up, laser treatments are expensive
Perhaps, it is the most accepted method. In this technique, gums are freeze by the application of cryogens. In this ultra-low temperature, gingival epithelium undergoes cryonecrosis causing the elimination of hyperpigmentation.
- Long term superior aesthetic
- rapid healing
- low recurrence rate
- No bleed, pain and scar
- Does not require anaesthesia, suture and dressing
- Postoperative swelling might present during the initial phase of healing
Those are the possible treatment options for gum hyperpigmentation. However, you have to decide whether you need to go for the procedure. It certainly depends on your pathological condition, and/or your level of confidence on darker gum exposure.
Journal reference :
Alastair DS, 2018 Sep-Oct;12(5):84-89, An insight into gingival depigmentation techniques: The pros and cons.