Black Gums: Causes and Treatments

Black Gums

What are the causes of black gums (gingiva)? If you have dark or black gums, treatment for cosmetic purposes is available. While gum depigmentation isn’t medically necessary, some people elect to have it completed as an overall smile enhancement.

Are Healthy Gums Supposed to be Pink?

Coral pink is the most common shade of gum tissue. Almost everyone has pink gums, regardless of their heritage or genetic makeup. However, there is a small percentage of people with black gums, or speckled/spotted gum tissue where the pink and black tissues are mixed together or the gums are entirely black.

Unhealthy gums are typically red or even bluish/purple if they are severely infected. While red gums can be easier to identify if your gingiva are naturally pink, it can be harder to see if you have black gums.

Causes of Black Gums

Why are some people’s gums black or brown and pink? Our skin pigmentation is the key to why some people have dark gums.

In most cases, black gums are seen in people with extremely dark skin, as they have high levels of melanin than most people. While not all African Americans are included in this group of people, those with especially dark skin or from certain African countries tend to have dark gums.

Should You Treat Your Dark Gums?

People who feel self-conscious about their gums are less likely to smile, laugh, or speak up in social settings. Your smile’s appearance can affect everything from a person’s private life to their professional and social ones. Even if your teeth are extremely attractive, the frame of your gum tissues and lips around your smile impact your overall appearance. Sometimes our San Diego dentist recommends cosmetic treatments on gum tissues to enhance the “look” of your healthy smile.

Our patients who are self-conscious about their smiles often request gingival depigmentation. Having dark gums don’t doesn’t make them unhealthy or unattractive, but inconsistent coloration may draw unwanted attention to your gums. Gum depigmentation is a safe and effective way to address color irregularities in the gingival tissue to give you a boost of confidence. It can be used as an enhancement to other cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain veneers or gum recontouring.

Black Gums Treatment (Depigmentation)

If the shade of your gum tissues is detracting from the appearance of your teeth, cosmetic treatment is available. It may be that you’re self-conscious if you have dark, speckled or spotted gums. Even if your gum tissues are completely healthy, it is possible to lighten them to a pink color for elective cosmetic purposes. We call this procedure “gingival depigmentation.” Some people even refer to it as “gum bleaching.”

Unlike “whitening your teeth, “gum bleaching” does not use bleaching chemicals or gels. Instead, a soft tissue laser is applied to specific areas of the skin and lighten the color of the gingiva in that space. Gingival depigmentation in San Diego produces long-lasting results that can last several years after each treatment. We use an FDA approved soft tissue laser that is both safe and effective, with no discomfort or lengthy recovery required. Our San Diego dentists set the laser at a certain wavelength and for a prescribed length of time on the area of concern. The laser naturally lightens the gums without applying any harmful or painful chemicals, making the skin more consistently pink in color.

Cosmetic gum depigmentation treatments last for 2-3 years at a time, until those skin cells replenish themselves with newer tissues rich in melanin.

Gingival Depigmentation | San Diego

Fifth Avenue Dental Arts in San Diego offers numerous cosmetic dentistry options to choose from. But your teeth are just one part of your smile. Your gum tissues are too!

If you have dark, spotted, or black gums and want to treat those areas for cosmetic purposes, contact our office. We’ll see you for a consultation to determine if you’re a candidate for gum depigmentation in San Diego.

Best Tooth Replacement Options for Missing Teeth

Best Tooth Replacement Options for Missing Teeth


Have a missing tooth? The extra space it creates can lead to embarrassment, changes in your diet or facial profile, not to mention shifting in other teeth next to it. Fortunately, you have several choices for replacing missing teeth and rebuilding your smile.

Our dentist in downtown San Diego can use various restorative methods for restoring your smile. In most cases, the most common and best dental options for missing teeth include one of the following:

Dental Bridge

Years ago, if you were to ask what are the options for tooth replacement, a dental bridge would have probably been the first choice. Bridges are multi-tooth restorations that are supported by natural teeth or dental implants. Traditional tooth-supported bridges can fill in 1-2 teeth at a time, but not anything more than that. Whereas implant-supported bridges (where each end is set on top of an implant) can fill in up to 3-4 teeth in a row.

The downside to traditional bridges is that they require reshaping the teeth that are supporting them. But if those teeth are already in need of protective crowns, bridges serve a dual purpose.


Need a fast, temporary tooth replacement? A flipper is an acrylic device similar to a retainer with an artificial tooth attached to it. These devices are great if you’re planning on a long-term tooth replacement like a bridge or implant, but need something to tide you over in the meantime. Especially if you have concerns about maintaining proper spacing for an implant later on.

Flippers also work for children or teens who have a missing front tooth and might not be old enough for a more permanent solution because their mouths are still developing. Since they’re temporary and removable, they don’t tend to hold up to heavy biting or chewing; they usually need to be removed while you eat.

Partial Denture

A partial denture replaces all of your missing teeth at one time. The prosthesis wraps around the healthy teeth you still have, preventing additional tooth removal. Then, the artificial teeth are set onto the frame to fill in all of the open spaces. If you lose any additional teeth, it may be possible to add to the partial.

It’s worth noting that a partial denture can sometimes weaken the natural teeth that help hold it in place. Since the clasps wrap around and rub those teeth, there may be enamel damage, gum irritation, or eventual loosening of those teeth over time.

Dental Implants

The absolute best treatment for missing teeth is modern dental implants. Today’s implant designs mirror the anatomy, feel, and function of natural teeth. So regardless of how many are missing, you can elect to have dental implants installed to make your smile whole again.

How do dentists replace missing teeth with implants? Since the implant essentially functions as an artificial tooth root, it’s set into the bone and allowed to integrate with your jaw. In a matter of months, the implant is capable of supporting more weight than a natural tooth. At that point, we place a fixed restoration on top of the implant abutment to fill in your smile.

Some of the most common types of dental implant treatments include:

  • Single tooth implants with a matching porcelain crown
  • Pairs of implants to support a multi-tooth porcelain dental bridge
  • Fixed All-on-4 or All-on-6 hybrid implant designs (to replace all of the teeth at one time)
  • Implant-supported removable overdentures

Since dental implants can last for a lifetime, they offer one of the best returns on investment when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Our San Diego dentist recommends dental implants in most cases, because of their functional and minimalistic design.

Best Dental Options for Missing Teeth

Our dentist in downtown San Diego offers comprehensive tooth replacement options for adults of all ages. We’ll help you select the best treatment for missing teeth as it relates to your circumstances and priorities.

Reserve a consultation with us today to learn more. Flexible payment options are available! Call Fifth Avenue Dental Arts to get started.

No Insurance? Save with Our Private Dental Membership Plan

no insurance save with our private dental membership plan

If you’re one of the thousands of San Diego patients without dental insurance, we’ve got great news. Fifth Avenue Dental Arts offers a private Smile Savings Membership plan for you and your family.

Smile Savings Plan Membership in Downtown San Diego 

Looking for private dental discount plans? With our in-house membership program, you get the perks of preventative dental care and discounted treatments without the hassle of dental insurance premiums, co-pays, and restrictions. Whether you’re looking for a family or child membership in downtown San Diego, you’ll find them all at Fifth Avenue Dental Arts.

Joining our membership plan is easy and you get access to the benefits immediately. So even if you have an appointment today, tomorrow, or next week, you can become a member. Just be sure to let us know you want to join when you call our office.

How Does a Dental Membership Plan Work?

Joining a dental membership program allows you to pay one low monthly subscription and get 100% coverage on two cleanings, exams, and necessary x-rays each year. Just like traditional dental insurance but without the premiums. Only in this case, you won’t have any deductibles to pay! If you or your child need treatment, we apply a flat discount of 20% off almost all dental procedures (some exclusions may apply in limited cases.) You won’t have to worry about claims being rejected, co-pays to meet, or your coverage running out. That means no surprise bills in the mail, either. You will know exactly what the fee is before you even book the appointment.

Better Than Dental Insurance

Did you know that the annual allowable amount that most dental insurance premiums cover hasn’t increased since the late 1970s and early 1980s? Even with the cost of living and increased coverage for medical insurance, dental insurance amounts have remained stagnant. That means even though major procedures might have been covered four decades ago, that isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Confused, a lot of patients become frustrated with their dental providers because they don’t understand it’s actually their plan’s benefits failing to pick up with the pace.

The good news is that as dental membership plans gain popularity, patients can choose the private San Diego dentist of their choice. Quality, affordable dentistry is more accessible than ever. Especially at Fifth Avenue Dental Arts!

A Choice for Everyone

Not everyone has the same dental needs. Our San Diego dental plans are available for adult patients, pediatric patients, and individuals with a history of gum disease. That way you can plan checkups for the kids, a filling or two for yourself, or even plan a periodontal maintenance visit every 3-4 months if you need one. You won’t have to wait on pre-approvals, so you’ll always know what’s covered and by what amount.

If you’re planning a smile makeover in the near future, you can also apply your discount plan toward cosmetic treatment as long as your smile is healthy. Options like teeth whitening and porcelain veneers are just a couple of ideas to get you started.

Plus, you never have to worry about your coverage running out. So, use as little—or as much—as you need. Our goal is to help you keep your family’s smiles healthy for life. With a focus on preventative care services, we can show you how to deter gum disease and reverse demineralization before it evolves into active decay.

Dental Discount Plans in San Diego

Are you due for a cleaning? Think you have gum disease? Is there a cavity or broken tooth that you’re struggling with? Our dentist in downtown San Diego can provide you with quality oral health care thanks to our affordable Smile Savings Membership program.

Apply online today and get same-day dental insurance benefits without the third-party middle man. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

How to Get a Summer-Ready Smile

Teeth cleanings in San Diego

Whether you’re planning a big cross-country vacation, getting ready to spend time at the beach, finally taking that delayed anniversary trip, or you’re about to see loved ones for the first time since before the pandemic, there’s one thing that you’re sure to take with you: your smile. With the help of our dentist in downtown San Diego, you can help your teeth look and feel their best. Here’s how:

Book Your Dental Cleaning

First and foremost, make sure you’re up to date on things like exams and teeth cleanings. In Downtown San Diego, we frequently spot issues during checkups before they flare up into dental emergencies. These preventative care appointments can help you enjoy healthier teeth and gums as you intercept minor or reversible problems before they evolve into bigger ones.

A lot of teeth cleanings in Downtown San Diego got delayed because of all of the shut-downs. So, if it’s been longer than six months since your last checkup, now is the time to go ahead and book an appointment.

Explore Dental Veneers (Downtown San Diego)

Cosmetic dental veneers offer life-changing aesthetic results for our patients. If you’re not familiar with veneers, these cosmetic restorations are thin shells of porcelain that we bond over the front of the visible teeth in your “smile zone.” They typically require a planning/consultation visit and then two treatment appointments a couple of weeks apart from one another.

Not only will your smile look its very best, but the transformation will also impact your outlook on life. When you feel proud of the way your smile looks, you’ll want to show it off everywhere you go. The research shows people who smile often and have attractive teeth tend to be seen as friendlier, happier, and even make more friends. Veneers are the perfect investment in yourself on both a personal and professional level.

Don’t Forget About Whitening!

Whitening your teeth is a safe, fast, and cost-effective way to help your natural smile look its very best. Professional whitening, in particular, will help you achieve the brightest glow in the least amount of time. Depending on what your schedule and preferences are like, you can pick between a single-visit whitening treatment or request a set of take-home trays. Either investment can brighten your smile by several shades, giving you far better results than anything you’ll find online or in stores.

To get the most out of your whitening experience, we recommend touching up intermittently after teeth cleanings (in Downtown San Diego). Just keep your whitening trays on hand to use them as needed.

Be Sure to Tend to Any “Issues”

If you’ve been having a tooth bothering you here and there, or you already know there’s a cavity that needs to be filled, visit our dentist in downtown San Diego at your earliest convenience. Delaying dental care will only allow those minor issues to evolve into bigger problems. In turn, the treatment options become more advanced as the infection grows. It’s best to have them tended to while they’re small. Otherwise, like Murphy’s Law implies, they’ll flare up as soon as you leave town on that summer vacation!

Increase Your Water Intake

Drinking plenty of water during the summer can help you stay hydrated in the heat, but it’s also good for your teeth. The more water you drink, the better lubricated your mouth stays. Drinking and frequently rinsing with water can help reduce stain, lower bacterial levels, and cut back on your risk of developing tooth decay. While it doesn’t replace things like flossing, increasing your fluoridated water intake is a key element when it comes to healthy summertime smiles.

Book an Appointment

Our dentist in downtown San Diego provides exemplary care in a state-of-the-art facility. If you’re interested in learning more about preventative or cosmetic dentistry, book an appointment today!

All About Our Smile Savings Program: Smile Saving Membership Club

All About Our Smile Savings Plan: Illumitrac

Dental care isn’t a luxury or a “bonus”: it’s a core component of long-lasting health and wellness.

But for people without dental insurance, dental care can feel like a luxury due to its cost. The team at Fifth Avenue Dental Arts offers Smile Saving Membership Club because we believe that every single person, regardless of insurance, should have access to high-quality, affordable dental care.

That’s exactly why we are proud to offer Smile Saving Membership Club, our preventive care membership program. Smile Saving Membership Club makes it easy (and affordable!) to receive the regular dental cleanings and other care you need to maintain a beautiful, vibrant smile.

Here are the details you need to know. Call our San Diego office any time to learn more! 

Adult Membership

A standard Smile Saving Membership Club adult membership only costs $36 per month. Your $99 Lifetime Activation Fee includes your first month’s membership cost, so you can hit the ground running!

This is the best membership option for healthy adults without signs of existing periodontal disease. When you begin an adult membership with Smile Saving Membership Club, you enjoy the following regular benefits:

  • Professional dental cleanings every six months
  • Doctor exams every six to 12 months
  • X-rays as needed
  • One emergency exam per year, if needed
  • 20% off all other treatments (some exclusions may apply)

Adult Smile Saving Membership Club For Patients with Periodontal Disease

If you do have symptoms of periodontal disease, you may qualify for a Perio Membership for $61 per month. Just like with the standard adult membership, your $99 Lifetime Activation Fee includes your first month’s membership, so you don’t need to wait to get the care you need.

The Perio Membership is designed to address existing gum disease and restore your teeth and gums back to health. If caught early, gum disease can be reversed and you can enjoy your strong, beautiful smile for a lifetime. This is why regular dental visits are so important!

Every Perio Membership includes the following elements to ensure you receive the comprehensive dental care you need:

  • Perio maintenance cleanings, which are more frequently than regular exams (3-4 per year)
  • Doctor exams (1-2 per year)
  • X-rays as needed
  • One emergency exam per year, if needed
  • 20% off all other treatments (some exclusions may apply)

Left untreated, periodontal disease leads to widespread infection throughout the body, tooth loss, and bone degeneration. These are serious complications that require extremely expensive treatments. If you can prevent all of that with a Smile Saving Membership Club membership and a few dentist appointments a year, it’s definitely worth it!

Child Membership

The Fifth Avenue team also offers Smile Saving Membership Club memberships for our younger patients. The foundation for healthy teeth starts even before your child is born, so it’s never too early to consider your child’s health!

Children 12 years and younger are eligible for a Smile Saving Membership Club child membership. It only costs $33 per month, plus the $99 Lifetime Activation Fee that includes the first month’s cost. The dental care provided through a child membership is everything your little one needs to protect her bright smile:

  • Professional dental cleanings every six months
  • Doctor exams (1-2 per year)
  • X-rays as needed
  • Fluoride treatment
  • One emergency exam per year, if needed
  • 20% off all other treatments (some exclusions may apply)

Other Common Questions About Smile Saving Membership Club

For many families and adults, a Smile Saving Membership Club membership is more affordable and useful than dental insurance. Many dental insurance policies are complicated by co-pays, annual maximums, and fine print that limits coverage on important procedures.

When you opt for a Smile Saving Membership Club membership, you know exactly what benefits to expect, and you also enjoy a full 20% off discount on other treatments. It’s a smart and affordable way to receive critical preventive dental care.

The team at Fifth Avenue Dental Arts is here to work with you and your family, so you can always add members to your account and schedule your appointments at your convenience. Your membership is effective immediately, so you can come see us the same day that your Smile Saving Membership Club membership begins if you’d like!

Call (619) 233-3338 today or sign up online to learn more about our Smile Saving Membership Club and how our office can help you get preventive care for a low monthly cost. Doctors Ramin Ghassemi, DDS, MS, and Nina Mojaver, DMD, are committed to the cornerstones of excellence, experience, and esthetics, so you can trust our team to deliver only the highest quality dental care, regardless of whether you have insurance!