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Medication Induced Gingival Hyperplasia

If you take medications to control your seizures, then you may experience side effects. These include sleepiness, dizziness, gastrointestinal upset, and blurred vision. In addition to these, anti-seizure medications can cause problems with your gum tissue such as gingival hyperplasia, or gum overgrowth. Here are some ways gingival hyperplasia can affect your gums and what you can do about them:

Swollen Gums

Gingival hyperplasia causes your gums to become extremely swollen, red, and painful. Your gum tissue can also grow in between your teeth and over the tops of your teeth. In addition, you may be more likely to develop periodontal disease and gum infections.

If your dentist believes you have gingival hyperplasia, he or she may recommend that you consider periodontal therapy services. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. The severity of your medication-related gum overgrowth may be dose dependent. This means that if you take high doses of anti-seizure medication, your gingival hyperplasia may be extensive, however, if the dose is small, gum overgrowth may be minimal. 

Purulent Drainage

Because hyperplastic gum tissue makes it difficult to maintain optimal oral hygiene, your gums may become severely infected. If you have a bad taste in your mouth when you bite down or if you see yellowish drainage leaking from your gums, you have a bacterial infection.

Pus drainage, also known as purulent drainage, needs to be treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, a purulent gum infection can become systemic and raise your risk for sepsis, a severe blood infection.

If you develop a purulent gum infection, your periodontist will prescribe oral antibiotics until the infection has cleared, however, because purulent gum infections can be resistant to treatment, a repeat course of antibiotics may be necessary. Even if your gums are infected or are painful, do not alter your oral hygiene routine in any way. Skimping on brushing or flossing will exacerbate your infection and may worsen gum inflammation. In addition to antibiotic therapy, rinse your mouth with a weak saltwater solution. This will help dampen inflammation, soothe your gums, and help speed healing.  

If you take medications to manage your seizures, see your dentist on a regular basis. He or she will need to monitor your gum condition so that you can be referred to a periodontal therapy service professional at the earliest sign of gingival hyperplasia or infection. The sooner treatment is initiated, the less likely you will be to experience complications such as a severe infection or damage to the bones that support your teeth.