What Causes Black Gums? Can I Treat It?

Cosmetic Gum Treatment in San Diego


Most healthy gum tissue is a shade of coral pink. And that includes everyone, regardless of your genetic makeup or heritage. However, there is still a smaller percentage of people who have black gums or speckled/spotted gum tissue with the pink and black mixed together. 

What Causes Black Gums?

To understand what causes dark gums, we first need to look at our skin pigmentation. People who have extremely high levels of melanin in their skin—with very dark skin pigments—might also, occasionally, have dark gums. These can include people who descend from specific African nations.

What causes dark gums isn’t usually because of something health-related. Even when gum tissues are infected with periodontitis, they tend to be bright red. Occasionally, they’ll take on a slightly bruised look, but they won’t be black in color.

Having dark or black gums is, fortunately, considered completely natural for people who have more melanin in their skin. 

How to Get Rid of Dark Gums

If you’re someone who has speckled, spotted, or dark gums, you might feel a little self-conscious about the unique skin that frame your teeth. Even if your gingival tissues are completely healthy, you might want them to be lighter or more uniform in color (instead of a combination of both pink and black gums together.)

That’s where gingival depigmentation comes in. This treatment (sometimes called gum depigmentation or gum bleaching) helps remove the excess melanin in those areas so that all of your gums look pink.

What is Gingival Depigmentation?

Gingival depigmentation is a treatment that safely lightens the color of your gums. You can take dark or spotted gingival (gum) tissue and treat it so that a lighter pink color is left behind.

“Gum bleaching” doesn’t actually use bleaching gels or chemicals. But it does provide long-lasting results that can last for a few years between treatments. Rather than harsh bleaching solutions, a soft tissue laser is used on specific points of your skin, leaving instant results.

How Does Gingival Depigmentation Work?

Gingival depigmentation uses an FDA-approved soft tissue laser to lighten your gum tissues. It is safe and effective, without any unnecessary discomfort or recovery times needed. Lasers are used for several different dental procedures, and this is just one of many!

Whenever our San Diego dentists perform a gum depigmentation treatment, we apply the laser to the dark gums using a specific wavelength at a specific length of time. The gums are naturally lightened without any harsh or painful chemicals. The laser essentially dissolves the pigments in those places, allowing the oral mucosa to look more uniform in color.

Most gum depigmentation treatments will last a long time, but the melanin in your skin will gradually come back as those skin cells replace themselves. The majority of our clients only need to touch up once every 2-3 years. 

Why Would Someone Want to Bleach Their Gums?

Gingival depigmentation is an elective cosmetic dentistry that is often requested by our patients who feel self-conscious about their smiles. It’s not that their dark gums are unhealthy; it’s that any unusual or atypical skin pigment might detract from the way their teeth look. Especially considering how closely our gums need to “frame” our smiles.

Whenever someone feels self-conscious about the look of their gums, they’re less likely to smile in photos, laugh around other people, or even speak up in groups. It affects everything from their private life to their social and professional ones.

Since gum depigmentation can actively address color irregularities in our gingival tissue, it’s a safe and effective solution for these unique clients. Some people use it as a stand-alone cosmetic enhancement, while others want to complement treatments like their new porcelain veneers.

Cosmetic Gum Treatment in San Diego

Fifth Avenue Dental Arts offers a wide menu of cosmetic dentistry options. But your teeth are just one facet of your smile! You deserve beautiful, healthy gum tissues around them, too. Our soft tissue laser technology and options like gingival depigmentation treatment can help you look and feel your very best.

Contact our San Diego cosmetic dentistry team today to find out how we can help!

What is Gingival Depigmentation (Gum Bleaching)?

What is Gingival Depigmentation (Gum Bleaching)


Most people think of a beautiful smile as straight white teeth. However, the appearance of our smile is also affected by the shape and size of each tooth and the tissue that frames it. All of the soft gingival tissue (gums) surrounding our smile also has an impact on how we look, from the health of our mouths to the shape of the teeth they protect. But if you have significant discoloration or atypical pigment, a cosmetic gingival depigmentation process can help!

Causes of Dark Gums

In the majority of situations, healthy gum tissue is coral or pink in color, regardless of skin pigmentation. Other individuals may have dark gums across their entire smile or a combination of mixed pink and black pigment. Black gums may be common depending on the color of your skin. Even people with naturally darker skin pigment may not have brown or black gingiva. Our gum whitening treatment is available if you feel your dark gums are distracting from your smile or creating splotchy discoloration that isn’t attractive.

The good news is that the causes of dark gums are nothing to be alarmed about; they are strictly genetic. Unfortunately, uneven gum coloration can make some people feel self-conscious, even if their mouths are healthy. Particularly if they smile or laugh and a large area of gum tissue is visible.

Gingival Depigmentation San Diego

Laser gum depigmentation can safely remove the dark pigment from the delicate gum tissue and leave behind lighter skin. That way there is consistency in the color of your gums throughout your entire smile.

Using a soft tissue laser is one of the safest and most effective methods of bleaching gum tissues, as no irritating chemicals or medications are required. The results are immediate, providing you with a same-day cosmetic treatment that significantly changes the way your smile looks.

Gum Bleaching Aftercare

The typical laser treatment for dark gums will provide results for up to 2-3 years. You’ll notice that your natural pigmentation will return over time, as gum tissue naturally sheds cells. If desired, you can return to our office to have the area re-treated or touched-up.

Your gum bleaching aftercare is fairly simple. We advise avoiding spicy or hot foods for a day or two. Avoid alcohol-based mouthwash or aggressive brushing as your mouth might be sensitive for a couple of days. An over-the-counter pain reliever such as Motrin is typically more than adequate for managing any sensitivity.

Cosmetic Gum Pigmentation

Laser gum bleaching can be a smart investment if you are embarrassed by the color of your gums. You’ll feel more confident in your smile overall. And in turn, you’ll be more comfortable showing it off when you’re around other people.

Since only a few people need this cosmetic service, gum depigmentation has not as common as getting veneers or bleaching your teeth. That being said, it’s the perfect add-on to your smile makeover. Laser gum depigmentation is very effective and yields amazing results for our patients who have dark or discolored tissues. The laser lightens the color of the gingiva, lifting darker pigments and leaving lighter pink tissues behind. Laser technology is FDA-approved and can be used to perform a wide range of cosmetic and minimally invasive procedures. Not just treating dark gums, but also gum recontouring, gummy smile treatment, crown lengthening, tongue ties, lip ties, pocket reduction, and so much more.

Best of all, your results are immediate. You don’t have to wait or come back for additional appointments. Feel free to ask us about some of our before-and-after examples so that you can view cases similar to yours that we’ve completed in the past.

Laser Gum Bleaching San Diego

Do you feel self-conscious about the appearance of your smile because of dark or splotchy gum tissue? One call to our San Diego cosmetic dentists can provide a quick solution. Book a consultation at Fifth Avenue Dental Arts to learn how laser gum pigmentation can help you-and your smile-look your very best.