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Pediatric Gingival Hyperplasia: Signs And Treatments

Pediatric gingival hyperplasia is an oral condition characterized by gum overgrowth. Adults can also develop gingival hyperplasia, also known as gum hyperplasia, but it is especially challenging in pediatric patients. While most pediatric dentistry professionals have seen this unusual condition in their practices, it is not as common as other dental conditions such as cavities or gingivitis. Here are the signs of pediatric gingival hyperplasia and some treatment options your pediatric dentistry office can offer.

Signs Of Gum Hyperplasia

Your child's dentist may suspect that your child has gingival hyperplasia during an oral examination when overgrown gum tissue is discovered. Hyperplastic gums are those that typically look inflamed, red, and grow over the teeth. Sometimes, the gums even grow into the gaps between the teeth. When these signs are revealed during the oral examination, the dentist may ask you if your child takes any prescription medications.

Drugs known as anticonvulsants, which are those used to manage seizure disorders, can cause overgrown gums, as can certain cardiovascular medications. It is essential that overgrown gums be promptly diagnosed and treated because they can quickly progress, raising the risk for serious soft tissue infections and carious teeth. In addition, because gingival hyperplasia can significantly alter the appearance, your child may become self-conscious, sad, isolated, and anxious.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for pediatric gingival hyperplasia may include more frequent dental examinations and professional teeth cleanings. Because overgrown gums can make it difficult for your child to properly brush and floss, they may be at a higher risk for gum infections and cavities.

If the dentist determines that the overgrown gums are infected, they may prescribe oral antibiotics to resolve the infection and to minimize the risk of spreading to other parts of the body. In addition to these treatment options, your child's dentist may recommend that you speak with their primary care physician about lowering the dosage of the medication suspected of causing gingival hyperplasia.

Higher doses of anticonvulsant medications may be more likely to cause gum problems than lower doses. The dentist may also prescribe a special oral rinse to help decrease the oral microbial count, reduce gum inflammation, and promote tissue healing. A scaling and root planing procedure is another treatment option for gingival hyperplasia. This procedure helps get rid of hardened tarter under the gum line and is also known as a "deep cleaning" treatment. 

If your child develops any of the above signs of gingival hyperplasia, seek pediatric dental care as soon as possible. When gum problems are recognized and treated in their early stages, they may be less likely to lead to tissue damage, cavity formation, infection, and tooth loss.