If gums start growing over teeth, it’s normal for a person to feel concerned and/or worried. The overgrowth of gums, or gingival hyperplasia, may be a side effect of other health conditions. Gums growing too much may not seem like an immediate issue, but it can dangerous to teeth and eventually become uncomfortable and unattractive. Understanding the causes of gum overgrowth and seeking the proper treatment can help protect a person’s healthy, attractive smile.
Gingival Hyperplasia Causes
The most common cause of gingival hyperplasia is gum tissue responding aggressively to the irritants of plaque or tartar. Just like gum disease can lead to receding gums, it can also lead to excessive gum tissue growth. Even after gum overgrowth from gum disease, gum recession is still a possibility.
Aside from gum disease, causes of gum overgrowth include genetics and a condition called gingival fibromatosis in which healthy gum tissue grows so excessively it can completely cover teeth if a dental professional doesn’t remove it. Some medications such as calcium-channel blockers and immunosuppressants have a side effect of gum overgrowth. Further causes of gum overgrowth include hormonal imbalances, pregnancy and leukemia. The only way to know the cause of gum overgrowth in a certain patient is through a dental and/or medical exam.
Consequences of Gum Overgrowth
When gingival fibromatosis causes gum overgrowth, the main issue is aesthetic but with other causes of gum overgrowth, the gums can become swollen, red and may bleed along with looking unattractive. As most types of gum overgrowth are inflammatory, it can be dangerous to teeth and bones as the body’s immune system attacks the gum tissues along with the invasive bacteria. Overgrown gums can trap tartar, bacteria and other irritants beneath the gum line and this can accelerate tooth decay and cause further swelling and irritation.
Treatments for Gum Overgrowth
When gum overgrowth is a result of gum disease, oral hygiene and anti-inflammatory medications can reduce swelling. If systemic conditions are the cause then treating them should eliminate the gum overgrowth or the problem may go away on its own. Finding which medications may be causing gum overgrowth and finding other options is another treatment possibility. For gingival fibromatosis, re-contouring the gums, also known as crown lengthening, is the only option to help restore the appearance of an aesthetic, pleasing smile.
If you’re experiencing gum overgrowth, it’s important to address it immediately to work on an effective treatment plan with a periodontist. Arash Mike Rostami, DDS, MS, DICOI, Periodontist at Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics offers crown lengthening and various other procedures that can improve the health and appearance of your smile.