Are your gums growing over your teeth? Do you have a gummy smile? If so, our Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist has answers and treatment options available to you. Gum overgrowth, also known as gingival hyperplasia, can be a serious side effect of other conditions. Although it might not seem as bad to have your gums growing too much at first, it can actually cause danger to your teeth, look unattractive, and feel uncomfortable. Discover why this happens and what Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD can do to restore your gums and smile back to health and beauty.
Gum overgrowth usually occurs when your gum tissues respond aggressively to irritants like plaque or tartar. Instead of leading to receding gums, gum disease can trigger excessive growth of gum tissue, although receding gums may often follow.
But what causes your gums to respond this way? For some people, the condition is genetic. When this is the case, there’s no identifiable cause that we can look to, and we just have to deal with the consequences. A rarer form of gingival overgrowth, called gingival fibromatosis, isn’t related to gum disease. Healthy, pink gum tissue grows excessively, completely covering teeth if it’s not removed.
Gum overgrowth is also a side effect of some medications. The medications most commonly linked with gum overgrowth are the anticonvulsant phenytoin, the immunosuppressant cyclosporin, and a number of calcium-channel blockers.
Gum overgrowth can also be the result of systemic changes in your health. Pregnancy is one of the most common, but other hormonal imbalances and leukemia have also been linked to gum overgrowth.
If you’re experiencing swollen gums around one tooth, it can be from gum disease, an abscessed tooth, or food debris stuck under your gums.
Another cause of gum overgrowth, or swollen gums in the back of the mouth, is pericoronitis. Pericoronitis is swelling or inflammation of the gum disease and usually occurs around the wisdom teeth. This condition resolves and can be prevented with wisdom tooth extraction.
Lastly, if you have swollen gums behind your front teeth, or gums growing over your teeth, it can also be from gingival hyperplasia. Gingival hyperplasia is gum overgrowth that’s a direct result of inflammation.
Gum overgrowth can look unattractive. With gingival fibromatosis, your teeth will virtually disappear. With other causes of gum overgrowth, you’re more likely to get localized red, swollen lesions that look unattractive. They can also be painful and are likely to bleed.
Since most gum overgrowth is inflammatory, they are dangerous to your teeth and bones, as your body’s own immune response can attack your tissues as well as invading bacteria.
In all cases, gum overgrowth can trap bacteria, tartar, and irritants under the gum line, leading to accelerated decay and more irritation and swelling.
If your gum overgrowth is due to poor oral health and not genetics, there are a few things you can do to prevent it from occurring in the future.
Brushing twice daily will remove plaque and bacteria from the surface of your teeth and your tongue. Without brushing twice daily, plaque and bacteria can build up along the gum line and lead to gum disease.
Just like you should brush twice daily, you should also floss at least once daily. Plaque and bacteria can also linger between your teeth and along the gum line. However, floss is one of the only ways to remove it. By flossing once daily (preferably before bed), you reduce your risk of getting gum disease.
Believe it or not but your diet can play a huge role in whether or not you develop gum disease. For instance, sugary foods and drinks and starchy foods all contribute to plaque and bacteria. To reduce your risk of gum disease, eat a well-balanced diet and only consume sugary and starchy foods in moderation.
One of the reasons your gums begin to overgrow is from untreated gum disease. By visiting the dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup, your Beverly Hills dentist can catch gum disease in its earlier stage. With immediate treatment, serious consequences like gum hyperplasia won’t occur.
Another leading factor of gum disease is stress. Do your mental and oral health a favor and find ways to destress in your life to prevent gum disease.
In cases where gum overgrowth is related to gum disease, fastidious oral hygiene can help control swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce swelling. With some systemic conditions, treating them can help reduce or eliminate gum overgrowth. Others (like pregnancy) may pass.
We can also look at your medications to see which might contribute to gum overgrowth. You should talk to your doctor about other options that may not have the same effects.
The only option is to recontour your gums with gingival fibromatosis to ensure that you still show enough teeth to have an attractive smile. This may have to be done several times.
If you are looking for a Beverly Hills periodontist to help keep your gums healthy, attractive, and proportionate, please call (310) 275-5325 for an appointment at the office of Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD.