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Why Do Dentists Need Your Health History?

We know no one enjoys filling out paperwork, but in any medical environment, all those questions about your medications and medical history are incredibly important. Most people acknowledge that they need to fill out paperwork at places like their GP or orthopedic, but at dental offices, paperwork is often left ignored and unfinished. Because people typically come to the dentist twice a year, it can feel more routine than going to other medical offices. This translates to people not feeling the need to mention things like new medications or recent surgeries. Your teeth don’t have much to do with the rest of your body, right? In reality, your overall health has a strong impact on the health of your teeth and gums. Even small changes to your medical history can impact how we approach your dental treatment options.

List all of your medications

Almost all medications — even over-the-counter drugs — come with long lists of side effects. Most decongestants and many antihistamines can severely reduce saliva production. Saliva helps keep your teeth “clean” in-between brushing by washing away harmful bacteria. If we know that you’re on a medication that affects saliva production, we can take some proactive measures to ensure your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible.

Some other medications that may affect your saliva production include painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants. If you’re taking any kind of medication regularly, make sure your dentist knows — even if you don’t think it’s affecting your teeth or mouth directly. With anything medical, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

List all illnesses and conditions

Your mouth is a gateway for harmful bacteria, allowing them to easily move from your teeth and gums to affect the rest of your body. Poor oral health can exacerbate, and even cause, certain conditions, including endocarditis and cardiovascular disease. Letting your dentist know about your health conditions — including your family’s health history — is vital. If endocarditis runs in your family, your dentist may recommend coming in for three or four cleanings a year instead of two, just to make sure there are no bacteria that can wind up near your heart.

Your oral health can also impact pregnancy. Recent studies link periodontal disease to low birth weights and premature births. We typically recommend that pregnant women come in for cleanings every three months instead of every six months if they’re struggling with their gum health.

Other conditions that relate to your oral health include diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and osteoporosis. These illnesses can make the mouth more susceptible to gum disease, mucosal lesions, and tooth loss respectively. The best way to keep yourself healthy is to tell your dentist exactly what sort of conditions you have so they can create a treatment plan that works for you.

Recent surgery or injury? Let us know

Surgeries and injuries — on any part of the body — can affect oral surgeries and treatments. At our office, we approach every case with individual, personalized care. If we don’t know your medical history, we could make a mistake. Keep us in the loop on any and all changes by filling out all requested paperwork and talking to your dentist while you’re in the office. We want every visit to our office to be beneficial and worthwhile to you but for that to be possible, we need your help.

Typical gingival pigmentation

Dark or black spots on the gums are typically the byproduct of melanin buildup in the gums. It’s a completely natural, genetic condition that does not cause any adverse health effects. However, we’ve had quite a few patients ask about ways that they can remove those spots because they dislike how they make their smile appear asymmetrical. Unfortunately, there are no at-home remedies for removing dark blotches on the gums. Most professional methods also fail because they use things like knives or lasers which remove the pigmentation temporarily. Within a year, the spots come back.

My team and I noticed this gap in the cosmetic dentistry world and decided to try and close it. When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, you can change most anything: the size of your teeth, how “gummy” your smile is, and the shade of your smile. It just didn’t make sense to us that, with so much dental technology out there, patients who want dark gingival spots removed couldn’t find a real, long-lasting solution.

Discovering Britegums

It took a few years, but we finally found something that could change how dentists correct pigmented gingival spots: radio waves. Using an FDA approved electrosurgery device, we could emit radio waves near the surface of the gums, pulling the pigmentation out. The procedure proved to be inexpensive, easy on the patient, and most importantly, very successful. In the majority of cases, the radio waves take away gum pigmentation for good. We called the procedure Britegums and the rest is history!

How does Britegums cure black gums?

black gums

Curious about the Britegums process and how it works? Click here to go to the Britegums “How does it work” page. Have any additional questions about Britegums? Click here to go to our Britegums FAQs page.

What’s the first step to curing my dark gums?

Ready to get started on your Britegums treatment? You can call 1-866-274-8348 or schedule a complimentary consult online here. Our office is located in Cary, North Carolina but we’ve seen patients all the way from California and Nevada to Michigan and New York. If you do live out-of-state, we encourage you to ask for a virtual consultation. Using FaceTime or Google Duo, we can take a look at your smile and give you a rundown of your treatment and finances. After that, you can book a trip to Cary! We’re located right next to the airport (RDU), making it easy to drop-in, get the procedure done, and then get right back home.

We hope to see you soon!

purple gums

You don’t know when or how they got there but you’ve begun to notice (and maybe dislike) the blotchy, purple spots on your gums. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. We get a lot of patients calling our office asking us about spots on their gums. Because gum discoloration isn’t really something dentists or doctors talk about very often, not many people truly understand what the spots are or why they have them. They call this discoloration all sorts of things: purple gums, dark gums, “peeling” gums, and brown gums are just a few.

In reality, blotchy spots on the gums are simply caused by melanin build-up and are completely harmless. Still, quite a few people don’t care for how the spots can make their smile appear asymmetrical. See, the pigmentation on the gums is very rarely uniform. This means the person’s smile appears uneven — even if the teeth are perfectly straight. People who have “gummy” smiles, where a significant portion of the gums are visible when smiling, tend to make up a large percentage of our patient base purely because their gums impact the appearance of their smile more.

Black gums

Is there a way to fix purple gums?

It’s important to remember that, when talking about gum pigmentation, everything is cosmetic. Dark spots on the gums are not going to cause any health concerns. However, if you don’t like the way your gums are affecting your smile, we’ve got a solution.

Up until a few years ago, there weren’t many methods for safe gum pigmentation removal. Some doctors tried using lasers to burn away the pigmentation or knives to cut out the pigmented tissue. Neither of these methods were comfortable for the patient, nor did they provide long lasting results. Within a year or two, the pigmentation would always return.

We had a patient come in who was desperate for a real way to permanently remove the spots on her gums. With this as our motivation, we got to work, trying to find a safe and simple way to remove gum pigmentation. We found our solution in radio waves. Unlike other methods, radio waves are able to remove not just the melanin in the gums but also the melanocytes — the cells that create the melanin. By removing both, we are able to give patients symmetrical, pink gums that stay that way for, in most cases, a lifetime. We called this process Britegums.

How do radio waves remove pigmentation?

We use an FDA approved electrosurgery device to emit the radio waves. The device uses a special brush head to emit the waves and help loosen and remove the pigmented gum tissue. The procedure can be uncomfortable for patients since the mouth is a sensitive area. We provide a local anesthetic for Britegums though, if you’re suffering from dental anxiety, we can use IV or inhalation sedation to make it even easier on you.

It typically takes about seven days for the full results from the procedure to be visible. Patients heal completely two to three weeks post-surgery.

How invasive is Britegums?

Compared to most of the procedures we do at Stanley Dentistry (like dental implant surgery or crown lengthening), Britegums is incredibly non-invasive. There is zero bleeding since the radio waves stop any bleeding before it starts. For the doctor, the procedure is very easy and straight-forward. Most patients are in and out of the office within an hour.

You may experience some mild discomfort after your appointment as your gums heal. We recommend using Tylenol or Advil to help with that.

purple gums before after

Am I a good candidate for Britegums?

There are a few things we look for in a good Britegums candidate. The first thing is dental health. Before you get any kind of cosmetic procedure done, your dentist will want to make sure you don’t have any signs of tooth decay or periodontal disease (gum disease). If you do have periodontal disease and you need a gum graft, we’ll do that first and allow it to heal before moving on to the Britegums treatment.

The second thing we look for is melanin-based pigmentation. For most people, this pigmentation is genetic but in rare cases, we have had patients with smoker’s melanosis come in to get Britegums. We can use Britegums to treat smoker’s melanosis but we cannot use Britegums on patient’s suffering from Leukoplakia or any other ailment that causes gray or pale gums.

Where can I get Britegums?

While we’re working on getting a few more Britegums offices in other states and countries, right now have one location in Cary, North Carolina. Many of our patients live hundreds of miles away from North Carolina which is why we offer complimentary virtual consultations. With the virtual consultation, we’ll take a look at your gums and see if Britegums is the right course of treatment for you. If it is, we’ll encourage you to book a flight to RDU which is just down the street from our office.

We hope to see you soon!

Black gums

Post-quarantine, we’ve had a lot of patients call and ask us about cosmetic dentistry options. They want to know more about the cosmetic procedures we do, like gum contouring, bonding, and Britegums. At first, we were just thrilled to have more patients coming in. This has been a hard time for small businesses and every foot through the door is a big help in our slow-but-steady comeback.

But, eventually, as we examined the numbers and talked to some other offices, we began to realize something. During quarantine, people spent a lot of time on Zoom calls or Facetime chats. Those kinds of software act as a mirror, showing both the viewer and the caller on the screen. In short, it gives people time to look at themselves. For the first time in years, or for the first time ever, people are noticing small, cosmetic blemishes. They’re noticing things like dental staining, minor misalignment, or blotchy, “peeling” gums.

What are “peeling” gums?

That last one is the one that really surprised us. We’d never heard the term “peeling” when it comes to gums before. But, over the past few weeks, we’ve had many people calling and asking about their peeling gums and how we can treat them. Fortunately for these people, their gums aren’t really “peeling.” They’re actually just a little blotchy and slightly discolored. Melanin can appear in the gums, causing spots of color. These spots are completely cosmetic. They have more to do with genetics than your health.

Still, a lot of people dislike the way they look. This is particularly true for people who have “gummy” smiles, meaning their gums are distinctly visible when smiling. The uneven spots and blotches on the gums can throw off the symmetry of a smile and symmetry is what creates a really beautiful smile. Luckily, we have a pretty easy solution for removing that excess pigment in order to create a more uniform smile.

How do you fix blotchy gums?

For a long time, there wasn’t much that could be done to correct dark spots on the gums. There were some laster treatments but most of them were expensive, painful, and could not provide long lasting results. And then, a few years ago, our team discovered a new way to safely remove pigmentation from the gums without using lasers, knives, or any other painful tools. The answer was radio waves. Radio waves are able to gently remove the pigmentation without injuring the delicate gum tissue. We saw great results and decided to call the procedure Britegums, since it “brightens” dark spots on the gums. You can learn more about Britegums here.

Does Britegums hurt?

Britegums is a cosmetic dental procedure that does require some form of sedation. Without sedation, the procedure would be somewhat painful. Most people prefer to use a local anesthetic to numb the area. With the anesthetic, there is zero pain during the procedure. Afterward, some patients report mild discomfort as the gums heal. Patients can easily manage the pain with Advil or Tylenol.

How long is the healing period?

treatment for black gums

Britegums patients typically see a very short healing period. You can get back to your normal routine within a day. Although it’s a tender area of the body, the mouth heals fast. We have patients come in every week or every other week for a little while to check on how the gums are healing. Within a month or two, their smile is completely healed.

Is Britegums expensive?

We offer numerous financing options for Britegums, though most patients don’t even need to look at them since the procedure is very affordable. Set up a virtual consultation by calling (866) 274-8348 and we’ll set out a treatment plan for you.

Are the results long lasting?

This is always the most important question that patients ask us. Patients with peeling, blotchy, or “purple” (as some people call them) gums want a permanent way to remove that pigmentation. Lasers and knives only offer a few years without dark spots. Britegums, on the other hand, offers long-lasting results. In 99% of cases, once the pigmentation is gone, it’s gone. You won’t have to worry about a aymmetrical, blotchy smile ever again.

Where do I sign up?

Many of our Britegums patients come from outside the Cary-Raleigh area. We offer a very specialized, unique treatment that is impossible to find anywhere else. Because of this, we offer complimentary virtual consultations so you can talk with our team before booking a flight to North Carolina. You can request a virtual consultation here. We’ll see you soon!

treatment for black gums
Dark spots on gums fixed by Britegums

You’ve just finished brushing your teeth and you notice some dark, blotchy spots on your gums. Have they always been there, or did they just show up recently? Are they dangerous? Chances are, those harmless spots have always been there; dark gums are typically genetic. The majority of people with dark gums have a higher concentration of melanin in their skin. That melanin can appear in the gums as blotchy spots.

In rare cases, smoking can also cause “black gums” as some people call them. The nicotine in tobacco can encourage melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin) to produce a higher amount of melanin. Most of the time, patients who quit smoking see a gradual decrease in discoloration. However, in some cases, this discoloration can last for years after a patient has stopped smoking.

How can I fix my black gums?

britegums before and after
Britegums before and after

Gum “bleaching” methods do exist for people with dark gums but they aren’t exceptionally effective (or comfortable). Results from gum bleaching procedures just don’t last. Most patients who have their gums bleached see a return in dark spots within a year or two. For a procedure that’s expensive and painful, that’s just not worth it.

That’s why Dr. Rob invented Britegums — a revolutionary way to “pinken” gums with less pain and less downtime. Britegums uses radio waves to gently but permanently remove both melanins and melanocytes from the gums, revealing pink tissue underneath. The procedure is fast and relatively pain-free. Just a few weeks post-op, patients have perfect pink gums!

Interested in giving Britegums a try? Visit britegums.com to learn more or set up a free consultation with Dr. Rob at our office in Cary, NC. If you live out of town, don’t worry! Britegums also offers complimentary virtual consultations so you can see if the procedure is right for you before you travel.

Let’s face it: gums are strange. The pink, soft connector between our teeth and our jaw bones is important, of course, but a lot of our patients here at Stanley Dentistry don’t understand it too well. We all know that taking care of our gums is important for overall dental health, but why are some gums lighter than others? And why do some people have so-called “black gums”? We’re here to debunk the myths surrounding gingival pigmentation and hopefully cast some light on this unexplored topic.

treatment for black gums

Why do I have black gums?

If you have black gums or dark spots on your gums, you aren’t alone. Thousands of people have black gums and very few of them have anything but genetics to blame for them. An excess of melanin (the stuff that makes your skin darker) in the body is typically what causes black gums. People with darker skin are much more likely to have black gums because they naturally have more melanin in their bodies. Not everyone who has dark skin has black gums — that depends more on genetics and pure chance.

Rarely, black gums can be the product of certain medications or smoking. Ask your doctor to take a look at your medical history to determine a more definitive answer.

Black gums

Can I get rid of my black gums?

For a long time, there wasn’t a perfect method for getting rid of black gums. Some dentists would use lasers or knives to burn and cut away the pigmentation but these procedures were painful and gave only temporary results. People with black gums who wanted a way to pinken them weren’t left with many options.

That recently changed with the invention of Britegums. Our very own Dr. Robert Stanley found that many of his patients were asking for a way to erase dark pigmentation in the gums. Understanding that there wasn’t any real treatment on the market, he set out to find something that could help. He discovered that radio waves (when used in conjunction with specially-engineered brushes) were the key. Using both the radio waves and the brushes, he could effectively “brush away” the pigment on black gums, revealing pink gums underneath.

treat black gums

It may be time for you to get Britegums

Radio waves are much gentler on gums than lasers or knives, leading to a shorter recovery period and little to no pain for the patient. Because radio waves eradicate melanocytes (the cells that create melanin), the results are frequently permanent.

If you have black gums and find yourself hiding your smile because of them, it might be time to get Britegums. The fast and easy procedure is safe and affordable. You can have the pink gums of your dreams in just one short appointment.

For more information, visit: britegums.com

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