Gingival bleaching and surgery

Beautiful, healthy and white teeth are essential for a beautiful smile. A beautiful smile is an essential social asset, especially for females. But do not forget about the gingiva (gums) which hold the teeth. Health and good looks of the gums are almost as important to your overall good looks and a beautiful smile. If your gums have discoloured or you do not like the existing colour of your gums you can have them bleached by a professional. Gum bleaching is one of the simpler dental operations performed the world over.

Causes of Discolouration

Normal colour of healthy gums should be coral pink although certain ethnic groups may have darker gums. Discolouration can occur due to many reasons like excessive build-up of melanin, smoking, chewing beetle nuts (something common among people of certain Asians countries), effects of some medicines, and possibly, effect of amalgam fillings. The effect of amalgam filling will be spotty and confined to the regions near the filling. These occur because of amalgam particles falling during drilling. Excessive pigmentation is not a disease in itself. However, treatment is often sought because of aesthetic reasons.

Gum Bleaching Options

  • Surgery used to be the only option in the past. It is painful and needs anaesthesia. A post operation recovery period needs care and even medication to prevent infection. Surgery needs careful planning after a full medical history taking. Surgery is not indicated under certain conditions. It is not advised in case the patient has uncontrolled gum disease. Smoking and alcohol delay the healing period and in such cases other alternatives should be weighed. Patients with low disease resistance e.g., those with diabetes, HIV, cardiovascular disease, etc are not good candidates for surgery of any kind. Certain medicines which make the blood thin should be avoided before surgery. If those cannot be avoid surgery is not recommended because bleeding may not stop.
  • Chemical Bleaching normally involves compounds releasing hydrogen peroxide as the active bleaching agent. Such surface treatment is effective because pigmentation resides in the outer skin only. Dermabrasion will normally follow. Dermabrasion is rubbing of the skin to remove the top layer. Cleaner skin underneath is revealed leaving a skin with more acceptable colour. Local anaesthesia may be used to reduce pain to the patient. Chemical bleaching is normally a single visit procedure, but rarely, a second visit may be necessary.
  • Laser depigmentation is a relatively modern technique. Laser is used to remove the external layer of skin which is pigmented. Fresh and pink skin underneath is revealed. Laser treatment needs no anaesthesia and the patient can simply walk out after the treatment. Laser treatment is the best option if the pigmentation is spotty.

Gingival Surgery

If you are unhappy with the contour, shape or thickness of your gums, then you can enjoy a beautiful smile by having lifelike and beautiful gums with the help of gingival surgery. Two options for gingival surgery are available:

  • Conventional Gingival Surgery – this involves conventional surgical procedures to remove and reshape excessive gum tissues. Greater scar formation as well as inflammation was generated with this technique.
  • Laser Gingival Surgery – with the introduction of lasers, highly aesthetic results can be achieved when performing gingival surgery. With this procedure, not only the scare formation is minimal, but the healing is also quite quick.

Which Option?

Which option you choose for gum bleaching depends on a number of considerations. Extent of discolouration, patient comfort, time, post operation recovery period and comfort, and of course, cost, is relevant. As mentioned earlier, laser is most convenient. A decision must always be taken in consultation with the Emergency Dentist.

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