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Gum Diseases

Gums white

12/07/2007

Question:

My 14 year old daughter has had a gingivectomy about 4 weeks upper anterior area. About 8 months ago had a gum graft lower anterior. Braces placed about two weeks ago full banding. Noticed today in the areas of the gum surgery the gums have turned white. Can you tell me why?

Answer:

Is the color change the only thing that she is experiencing? Is she experiencing severe pain, burning sensation etc.?

For soft tissue graft surgery: A procedure called "free gingival graft" will have white gums as a treatment outcome. This is because of the thickness of the tissue that the doctor has to use. It basically includes epithelium (most outer surface of the soft tissue). It will be very similar to a patch at exactly where they did the surgery.

Gingivectomy should not cause any white gums. Unless, your daughter is from a special racial background. If you are African-American, Indian etc, you have higher pigmentation in your soft tissue. When the surgeon cuts away the gum during the gingivectomy, this will remove the part which is rich in pigmentation.

Orthodontic treatment may cause some blanching of the gums when the forces are initially applied. This generally comes with dull pain again because of the forces during the first 2-3 days.

There are some other more serious health issues in relation to white lesions of gingiva. If your daughter experiencing severe pain, you should visit either your orthodontist or the periodontist who did the gum surgeries. They can differentially diagnose and inform you more accurately. 

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Response by:

Binnaz   Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD Binnaz Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Periodontology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University