What is Gum Bleaching?

Gum bleaching, or gum lightening is a procedure that removes excess pigment in the gums. Gum tissue that is dark brown or black rather than pink can make even the brightest smile less appealing. Some people with dark and discolored gums try to avoid smiling in social situations to keep their gums hidden. Fortunately, it is no longer necessary for these individuals to feel awkward or embarrassed about their gums. Gum bleaching procedures developed by Dr Hedge can provide long lasting bleaching that leave gums looking naturally pink.

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Why Do Gums Turn Dark?

The most common cause of hyperpigmentation (dark discoloration) in the gums is simply genetics. Excess melanin in the gums, can make them look brown or black instead of pink. This is common in certain ethnic groups like people with African, Asian Indian, or Middle Eastern ancestry. In these cases, the problem is purely cosmetic. The extra pigment does not indicate disease or dysfunction. Patients seek treatment because of an aesthetic preference for pink gums that showcase their teeth better.

How Does Gum Bleaching Work?

The “Hedge” treatment is a combination of dermabrasion to remove the top layer of gum tissue and laser ablation (vaporization and removal) to breakdown the melanin pigment in the gums. According to Dr. Hedge, the treatment is not uncomfortable, there is no downtime and full bleaching is achieved in a single session. Treatment varies from 20 minutes to a little under an hour depending on the extent of discoloration.

Who Is a Candidate for Gum Bleaching?

The main guideline is simply that the gums must be healthy. This cosmetic gum bleaching treatment is not suitable for: Patients with oral disease (cancer, fungal infection, etc.) Patients with dark gums (this is not a surface pigment problem) Patients taking blood thinners (these can cause excessive bleeding during treatment) Patients with thin gum tissue or prominent tooth roots (they may experience ongoing sensitivity if roots are accidentally exposed by the removal of gum tissue) How Long Do Gum Bleaching Results Last?

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Since these procedures are fairly new, there are no large scale clinical trials to provide data about long term results. Laser treatment may have long lasting bleaching effects, but some patients do have a recurrence of pigmentation over time. Dr. Hedge reports tracking the results for many patients and the results appear to be permanent. However, there may be factors that cause repigmentation. Some patients may need touchup treatments to address recurring spots of discoloration.