Table of Contents
What are black gums?
Teeth are calcified structures present in the oral cavity. They are supported in the mouth by the alveolar bone. The alveolar bone is covered by a soft tissue layer known as the gingiva which is also commonly addressed as the “gum”. The gingiva is of different types namely attached gingiva, marginal gingiva and gingival sulcus. The main function of the gingiva is to protect the underlying bone and tooth, thereby acting as a protective seal.
The color of the gum may be pink, red, brown or black. This color varies from person to person, just like the color of skin. This color depends on a variety of factors. The darkening of the gums may be generalized or in certain areas. These may appear as black spots on gums. These black spots may be concentrated together at one spot or may be spread across a larger area of the gum. This is called black gums.
Causes of Black Gums
Melanin is a substance secreted naturally by the body. This melanin is responsible for the color of hair, eyes, skin and the gums too. More the melanin, darker is the color.
2) Dental restoration
Dark colored restorations such as amalgam (commonly called silver filling) also cause the discoloration of the gingiva in some areas.
3) Types of medication
Minocycline, a type of penicillin, commonly used to treat acne, may also lead to the discoloration of the gums.
Patients having different habits, especially smoking, have a high tendency for the gingiva as well as the teeth to get discolored.
How to get rid of black gums ?
1) Surgical removal
If the dark color of the gums is naturally present due to melanin secretion then surgical removal of the dark areas of the gum can be done. However, there are high chances of recurrence after the surgery due to the migration of melanin secreting cells to the area which has undergone a surgery.
It is a good treatment option as it has low recurrence rate compared to surgical removal.
3) Free gingival grafting
This involves the removal of unpigmented palatal tissue and grafting it over the pigmented area.
4) Replacement of dark colored restorations
Today, dental caries are widely treated with its excavation and restoration with esthetic fillings such as the use of dental composites. The use of dental composites help reduce chances of discoloration.
In case the discoloration is due to the use of minocycline, then the doctor should be consulted for an alternative drug.
6) Quit smoking
Smoking is one of the major reasons for the development of pigments. Giving up on smoking, works well against pigmentation.