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What Causes Gum Pigmentation?

Hello! My name is Dr. Peter Rinaldi and I’m a dentist here in Washington DC at the Washington Center for Dentistry. For the past 25 years, I spent a lot of my clinical chair time enhancing smiles. A lot of this has been done by altering tooth shape, color, and position. A lot of times, this is done with veneers. However, recently, there’s been a new cosmetic challenge in cosmetic dentistry that has nothing to do with teeth. It has to do with gums – Gum Pigmentation. Clinically, this is known as gingival hyperpigmentation. Many people ask: What causes gum pigmentation? The normal color of the gum tissue is pink. Gum pigmentation is caused by melanin and melanin is a natural substance in our body that we find in freckles, sun spots, age spots. It’s what makes us tan in the summertime. Unfortunately, some people have an overproduction of melanin in their gums. Discoloration may also be caused by long term use of certain medications. Now, gum pigmentation medically is not of any consequence. However, aesthetically, this could be a real challenge for some people. It makes them not want to smile at all. However, luckily, there are some things that we can do that can change that for these people and make them very happy.