Sometimes called gingival overgrowth, gingival enlargement, or hypertrophic gingivitis, gingival hyperplasia is an uncomfortable gum disease that could lead to poor oral hygiene and pain if not treated promptly. This condition is treatable, with the most extreme cases requiring surgical treatment. We will now explore the causes and symptoms of the possible treatment of gingival hyperplasia.
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What is Gingival Hyperplasia?
It is an oral condition that affects the gum and causes sprouting and overgrowth of the gum over the teeth. The overgrown gum may become inflamed and may result in bleeding during brushing or flossing of the teeth. Gingivitis, a mild gum infection, is also characterized by inflamed gum tissues.
While the overgrowth may be only marginally visible, the most severe case of this condition may result in the gum tissues becoming so inflamed that the entire crowns of the teeth are covered. This severe case may affect the natural alignment of your teeth or result in periodontal disease.
Possible Symptoms of Gingival Hyperplasia
Gingival hyperplasia shares common symptoms with many other oral conditions that it is almost impossible to identify a set of generic symptoms for it alone. The most common symptom is swelling in the gum tissue, which will result in softness and redness in the swollen area. In most cases, the swelling is always very painful.
The tenderness and pain may result in poor oral hygiene in the affected area, and other symptoms like bad breath and a build-up of plaque in the affected area may become noticeable. Persistent swelling and poor cleaning will result in cavities and other gum diseases. Furthermore, because the gum extends to the crowns, cleaning the teeth becomes difficult and painful.
However, not all cases of gingival hyperplasia result in swelling of the gum area. There are cases of non-inflamed gingival hyperplasia. Here, the gum turns purplish or dark, and the tissues are either firm or fibrous. Brushing or flossing causes the GM tissues to easily break. Non-inflamed gingival hyperplasia is often associated with very poor oral hygiene.
Since gingival hyperplasia shares similar symptoms with most other damaging oral conditions, it is very common to find that calculus, bacteria, and plaques can result in severe swelling in the gum tissues, which may, in turn, result in gingival hyperplasia. However, below are some of the common and identified causes of gingival hyperplasia.
Drug-Induced Gingival Hyperplasia
Genial hyperplasia is a side effect of some drugs, and this side effect is determined by so many other factors. These factors include the existence of dental plaque around the teeth, genetic makeup, and gingival inflammation. When these factors exist, there are chances of suffering from gingival hyperplasia as a side effect of some medications.
Also, not all drugs lead to this condition. Anticonvulsants such as phenobarbital, erythromycin, felbamate, phenytoin, and valproate are commonly associated with gingival hyperplasia side effects.
The drugs cause a reduction in the body’s collagen and result in gingival hyperplasia in the process. Immunosuppressants like cyclosporine and calcium channel blockers can also lead to this condition.
The sudden increase in hormones during puberty and pregnancy may cause minor gingival hyperplasia. At this stage, great oral hygiene will prevent a complicated case of gum inflammation or other dental diseases.
Some cases of gingival hyperplasia are linked to genetic makeup. For instance, gingival fibromatosis is hereditary and could lead to an increase in collagen. An increase in the production of these collagens may cause gum swelling and eventual overgrowth of the gums over the teeth. Hereditary gingival hyperplasia is a rare condition but occurs during childhood.
Leukemia, which is a complicated blood cancer that affects the bone marrow and lymphatic system, can result in gingival hyperplasia, especially where the other symptoms of leukemia are present.
Other Causes of Gingival Hyperplasia
Aside from all the common causes already explained above, there are other causes of gingival hyperplasias, such as systematic diseases like amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, Kaposi sarcoma, Chron’s disease, polyangiitis, and so on.
Also, vitamin C deficiency and diabetes may result in gingival hyperplasia. Other common causes of gingival hyperplasia include Zimmerman-Laband syndrome, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Cowden’s syndrome, anemia, and lymphoma.
Is Gingival Hyperplasia the same as Hypertrophy?
They are not the same, even though people tend to mistake their meanings. Gingival hyperplasia occurs when there is an increase in the number of gingiva cells. This causes swelling and overgrowth of the gums. On the other hand, hypertrophy occurs when there is an increase in the overall size of individual cells.
How to Detect Symptoms of Gum Disease?
If left untreated, gingival hyperplasia may result in gum disease, which is also referred to as a periodontal disease. This is caused by plaques building up around the gums due to poor oral hygiene. Periodontal disease affects the gums, bones, teeth, and the tissues around them.
It is difficult to detect symptoms of gum disease during its early stages. However, symptoms become more obvious as the disease progresses. Thus, some of the common symptoms that may be detected at this stage include:
- Bleeding gum while brushing and flossing
- Tender and swollen gum
- Sensitive teeth and misalignment
- Bad breath
- Loose denture
- Pus may be present in the gums.
- Gum recession
- Plaque build-up
Available Treatment for Gingival Hyperplasia
There are very limited treatments available for gingival hyperplasia, and these include gingivectomy, periodontal flap surgery, and laser gum treatment. These are the commonest treatments, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any more treatments for the condition. Depending on the severity, this condition may require different treatments to bring the gum and denture arrangement back to normalcy.
1. Periodontal Flap Surgery
It is a surgical procedure conducted by a periodontist to remove excess gum from the teeth. It is used for treating the most advanced gum diseases. Local anesthesia is applied to numb the affected area before incisions are made in the gum to detach the excess from the teeth.
The periodontist tucks the gum into a proper shape while removing the pus, inflamed and damaged gum tissues. Debris and plaques are also flushed out to reveal a healthy dentition.
This requires an oral surgeon to cut through the overgrown gum tissues and tuck them back in. It is very similar to periodontal flap surgery but is a more straightforward procedure.
3. Scaling and Root Planing
This is effective in the early stage of gingival hyperplasia. It helps to remove plaque build-up and calculus trapped between gum lines to reduce bacteria infestation and infection. If coupled with prescription mouthwash, mild gingival hyperplasia may be controlled.
Other treatments include ultrasonic treatment for inflammation reduction, laser excision, and prescribed antibiotics to help eradicate bacterial infections around the gum line. Antiseptic mouthwash and good oral hygiene may also work as a treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
The first step to preventing gingival hyperplasia, unless it is a drug-induced or hereditary condition, is by practicing good oral hygiene. This prevents calculus and plaque build-up. However, unless it is a mild gingival hyperplasia condition, you should always seek medical help.
If it is mild, and you are looking at preventing it from being worse, brush twice daily with a toothbrush with extra soft bristles. To eliminate bacteria, you could also use an ultrasonic electric toothbrush and antiseptic mouthwash.
If it is induced by medication, you should start noticing a change between the first and eight weeks after stopping the medication and maintaining good oral hygiene. Also, if you have undergone surgical treatment, it will take between eight to ten weeks for your gum to heal and get back to normalcy.
All anticonvulsant medications may result in gingival hyperplasia. It is a known side effect, especially when a patient is extremely dependent on them. Other medications that may cause this condition include calcium channel blockers and cyclosporine.
In the extreme, this condition may result in total tooth coverage. The crown gets covered with gum overgrowth, which may result in extreme pain and discomfort. It may be painful to chew, and brushing becomes extremely painful. Also, the gum may bleed, and pus may accumulate in the gum. There is lingering bad breath, and it may affect the total alignment of the teeth.
Maintaining great oral hygiene saves you from a whole lot of oral diseases. However, gingival hyperplasia doesn’t entirely rest on oral hygiene as it could be drug-induced and genetically hereditary.
Therefore, it is always very important to visit your dentist as soon as you identify symptoms of gingival hyperplasia. You can save yourself a lot of pain when you catch gingival hyperplasia at its earliest stage.
Dr Michael Jones is the proud founder of The Toothbrush Expert. He has been working as a dentist for 21 years now. Besides his work as a dentist, Michael wants to help people to find the right dental products. His goal is to provide everyone with honest expert reviews on all kinds of dental care products.