Dark Gums typically occur when there is excess pigmentation, called melanin, in the gums. Dark gums are more frequently noted in some cultures. This condition is also called Hyper-Pigmentation or Ethnic Pigmentation of the Gums. Typically these tissues are healthy and the appearance may bother some patients. If the discoloration is caused by excess pigmentation, the pigmentation can easily be removed.
Patients with dark gums typically complain of having light brown to dark brown to black gums. The dark gums can be splotchy or spotty or may involve almost all the gums. Sometimes the dark gums can be seen when a patient smiles. A common goal for patients with dark gums is simply the desire to have pink gums.
Historically dark gums have been removed by placing a soft tissue graft under the dark gums. Later a second procedure (called derma-abrasion) removes the dark gums to uncover the tissue added by the soft tissue graft. If the dark gums are very thin, sometimes the soft tissue grafting procedure may still be necessary.
Today, laser treatments can effectively remove the excess melanin deposits in gum tissues to achieve the same esthetic result as soft tissue grafting with less trauma and quicker healing.