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Gingival hyperplasia, also referred to as gingival enlargement, is the overgrowth of gum tissue around your teeth.
The affected gum tissue often becomes inflamed, which is a symptom of gingivitis (mild gum disease). Your gums may be red, soft, shiny, and bleed easily when brushing or flossing.
Severe gingival overgrowth can completely cover the crown of the tooth. This can lead to periodontal disease (advanced gum disease).
Other names for gingival hyperplasia include:
Gingival hyperplasia is often a painful condition that can cause the following:
This condition also negatively impacts your oral health standing. If left untreated, your gums can begin to fully cover your teeth, causing poor oral hygiene. This makes your teeth difficult to clean, potentially leading to gum disease and cavities.
In addition, gum tissue overgrowth can shift your teeth out of place. Orthodontic treatment may be necessary if this occurs.
Gingival hyperplasia does not always cause inflammation. Non-inflamed gingival hyperplasia typically causes your gums to turn dark red or purple. The gingival tissues may be firm, fibrous, and bleed easily. This type of gingival enlargement occurs more often in those with poor oral hygiene.
Gingival hyperplasia refers to the increase in the number of cells, while gingival hypertrophy refers to the increase in cell size.
In other words, hyperplasia occurs when the size of the gingiva increases. Hypertrophy just means an increase in the overall size of the individual cells.
The term gingival enlargement is a more accurate description of the condition. It can be caused by three main issues: inflammation, medication, or systemic disease.
Plaque, calculus, and harmful bacteria in the mouth can cause almost every oral condition. Long-term bad oral hygiene and poor plaque control are common risk factors for gingival hyperplasia.
Gingival enlargement can also be caused by other factors, including:
Drug-induced gingival overgrowth is linked to:
Gingival hyperplasia is a side effect of certain drugs, including:
Hormonal changes that occur during puberty and pregnancy can cause gingival hyperplasia. This is because a sudden boost in hormones can increase inflammation in the body.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. It is a minor, reversible form of gum disease that can lead to periodontitis (if left untreated). Good oral hygiene reduces the chance of developing oral conditions during puberty and pregnancy.
Genetic factors can cause rare types of gingival overgrowth that form during childhood.
For example, hereditary gingival fibromatosis results in an overproduction of collagen. As a result, the gums enlarge and slowly grow over the teeth.
Gingival hyperplasia can indicate acute leukemia if other cancer symptoms are present. Acute leukemia is when a group of blood cancers affects the bone marrow and lymphatic system.
Gingival overgrowth can also be caused by other health conditions, including:
Diagnosing gingival hyperplasia begins with a thorough medical history and physical examination. Your doctor will ask about medications you currently take, including prescription and nonprescription drugs.
They'll also look for signs of other conditions that could be causing gingival swelling, such as diabetes, thyroid problems, and vitamin deficiencies.
Your doctor might perform a biopsy to rule out certain types of cancer or pathological conditions. This procedure involves removing a small piece of tissue from the affected area.
If necessary, they may refer you to a periodontist who specializes in treating gum disease.
Gingival hyperplasia can lead to periodontal disease (if left untreated). Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis or gum disease, is an inflammatory disease that affects the gums, bones, and surrounding tissues. It is caused by plaque buildup below the gum line.
The early stages of gum disease are difficult to notice because people do not feel any pain. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms will become more obvious.
The most common signs of periodontitis include:
Depending on the severity of gingival enlargement, your dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Periodontal flap surgery repairs damage caused by periodontal disease (advanced gum disease). It can also treat most cases of gingival hyperplasia.
In general, the surgical removal of excess gum tissue consists of the following steps:
A gingivectomy is a straightforward procedure that removes excess gum tissue.
During the surgery, an oral surgeon, a periodontist, or a dentist cuts the overgrown gum tissue. Then they reshape the loose, damaged tissue and remove the “pockets” between your teeth and gums.
Other common treatment options include electrosurgery and laser excision. Both of these procedures involve the removal of inflamed gum tissue. If you have gingival enlargement and gum disease, your dentist may recommend:
If the condition is mild, you can prevent it from worsening by practicing optimal oral care at home. Tips include:
After you stop taking the medication(s) that caused gingival hyperplasia or start treatment, it takes 1 to 8 weeks for the lesions to disappear.
Gingival hyperplasia is a common problem that causes swollen, red, and tender gums. The condition usually goes away after treatment or when the underlying cause is addressed. Professional and at-home treatments can help control symptoms.
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