What is Gingival Hyperplasia?
Gingival Hyperplasia is a manifestation of overgrown, sometimes inflamed gums surrounding the teeth. The gums may appear swollen or infected, or it may simply look like your gums are overgrowing over your teeth and are their normal color.
This is a very common condition and can be treated, usually in the dentists’ office the same day.
In some cases, small lumps or tumors will appear. In all cases, seeing your doctor or medical professional will determine what the root cause is, and what you can do to treat it, and more importantly, prevent it from occurring again in the future.
It is not just found in humans! Animals can be affected by Gingival Hyperplasia as well. Commonly seen in Boxer and Springer Spaniel breeds, the treatments available for animals are also used on humans. It is called a gingivectomy. Dogs are usually anesthetized to treat the condition. Maintaining your dog’s oral health will limit the condition.
Understand that having Gingival Hyperplasia may not be within your control. You may have inherited it, acquired it due to illness or medications you are currently taking. Maintaining a proactive and healthy oral care regime will reduce the chances of being affected by Gingival Hyperplasia.
Once you start to experience problems with your gums, it may affect your confidence and social activities. You want to enjoy the foods you love with the people you like to be with. If you are unsure about the concerns you have for your gums, seek professional consultation.
You will want to be the healthiest you possible!
What causes Gingival Hyperplasia?
There are numerous causes of this condition. Some are within your control, some maybe not. Ultimately, maintaining a solid oral hygiene regime is the key and will prevent not only Gingival Hyperplasia but many other oral ailments as well. Your oral health is more important than you know!
• Orthodontic braces.
• Poor oral hygiene
• Mouth breathing
• Overcrowded teeth
• HIV infection
• Cancerous tumours
You may be taking medications for other conditions and they are affecting your oral health. There are numerous medications known for causing Gingival Hyperplasia. Stopping your medications may not be an option, so you would need to consult with your doctor or medical professional to review what can be done.
Each person is unique and may not have the same side-effects from medications as the next person.
- Phenytoin: a medication used to treat seizures and convulsions. It is categorized as an anticonvulsant.
- Cyclosporine: a commonly used immunosuppressant used to prevent systematic rejection after an organ transplant. It is sometimes used in the treatment of other immune-mediated conditions like nephrotic syndrome, atopic dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
- Calcium channel blockers: a type of cardiovascular medication used in the treatment of hypertension, chest pains, and irregular heartbeat. These include nifedipine, amlodipine, and verapamil (most commonly used).
- Antibiotics and antidepressants.
Other Causes of Gingival Hyperplasia
• Changes in hormonal states:
- pregnancy, puberty
- Excessive plaque buildup
- Vitamin C deficiency – scurvy
- Genetically acquired, often present at birth (each a very rare condition):
- Hereditary fibromatosis
- I-cell disease
- Pfeiffer syndrome
- Infantile systemic hyalinosis
- Primary amyloidosis
- Fabry syndrome
- Cowden syndrome
- Tuberous sclerosis
- Sturge-Weber angiomatosis and
- Gingival granular cell tumor.
• Acute leukemia, lymphoma or aplastic anemia may also cause Gingival Hyperplasia
• Crohn disease.
Do I have Gingival Hyperplasia?
If you are seeing overgrown portions of your gums or areas that appear irritated or tender, or if you think your gums are simply feeling uncomfortable, you may have Gingival Hyperplasia.
Gingival Hyperplasia may also interfere with your ability to speak clearly or chew your food properly. You may also have halitosis (bad breath) and the overall appearance of your mouth may be unsightly and you may want to cover your mouth when you smile or laugh. If you are experiencing any of these, get it checked out by a professional. It is better to know and be pro-active than to let a condition get worse and become more difficult to treat.
How can I treat Gingival Hyperplasia?
First, your medical professional will need to find the reason for your Gingival Hyperplasia, and then determine which treatment will be most effective. The right diagnosis is essential to your long-term oral health and future prevention.
A biopsy may be conducted to rule out a more serious, or pathological cause. If the cause is gingival inflammation, then regular periodontal therapy may be prescribed. Usually, this inflammation is caused by poor oral hygiene and a strict regime of care will need to be followed. This includes brushing three times a day, drinking more water and less sugary drinks, regular flossing and possibly a special mouth rinse to treat the gums.
If the medications you are taking for a separate condition are causing your Gingival Hyperplasia, you will have to consult with your doctor or medical professional. Modifying your medication dosage may halt the overgrowth but it will not reverse it. In most cases, surgery or intrusive treatments will be required to correct the state of the gums.
- Once treated, your ability to practice proactive oral hygiene daily will help to reduce the risk of re-developing Gingival Hyperplasia in the future. Your dentist will monitor your effectiveness and assist you as necessary. You may need to receive more frequent professional cleanings or may be guided on ways to improve the way you brush your teeth, and which toothbrush is best for you. You may also be asked to use a special mouthwash to treat your gums on a daily basis. Taking great care of your gums and overall oral hygiene will ensure your chums will be healthy now and in the future.
- If your medications are the cause, your doctor may substitute the medication you are currently taking to reduce the risk of developing Gingival Hyperplasia. It is important that the condition the medications are treating is not negatively affected by the change, so you will need to pay attention to what is recommended. Very often, once you have treated the root cause of having to take the medications causing Gingival Hyperplasia, and are no longer on the medications, the effects of the drugs once stopped will halt the condition.
Surgery and other treatments
Ultimately, the overgrown gums may need to be surgically removed. This is usually done as a day surgery procedure and you will be home the same day. You ill be given specific instructions on how to care for the gums while they heal – it is important to follow all instructions so they heal properly and free of bacteria.
However, if the original cause is not changed, Gingival Hyperplasia will return and the treatment cycle will repeat. Devices which apply pressure to the gum area, preventing or inhibiting growth are sometimes used – they look like night guards are sometimes used to push back’ the soft gum tissue and prevent it from overgrowing the teeth.
An accelerated cleaning schedule at your dentist office may also be recommended to ensure the areas where the gums and the teeth meet are clean and free of plaque.
Once you are aware of the causes, prevention is easier. Gingival Hyperplasia may not be avoidable due to genetics, illness or your medications, but by maintaining an aggressive oral health and maintenance regime, seeing your doctor or dentist regularly and inspecting your gums regularly will have an enormous impact.