What is Gingival Hyperplasia?

Gingival hyperplasia refers to an overgrowth of your gums (also known as your gingiva), rather than a specific condition. Whereas some people have too little gum tissue to cover their teeth, those with gingival hyperplasia have too much gum tissue. In some people, it may look like one or two small bumps protruding from the gums. In others, the gums can almost completely cover the teeth. Rest assured that this condition is not contagious.

There are several potential underlying causes of gingival hyperplasia. Understanding the cause of your gingival hyperplasia is essential to finding the rightits treatment and preventing future problems. Keep reading to learn more…

What Causes Gingival Hyperplasia?

The causes of gingival hyperplasia can be grouped into four categories.:

Inflammatory Response

Your gums often become inflamed ininflame as a response to plaque accumulating in your mouth. from improper dental care. This leads to a condition known as gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), which can cause gum sensitivity, bleeding, swelling, and gingival hyperplasia. causing your gums to be sensitive and prone to bleeding when cleaning between your teeth. 

Because plaque and gum disease are commonly caused by poor oral hygiene, the power to manage this cause may well be in your hands.  Luckily, the power is in your hands to treat gum disease if it has not yet progressed to a state requiring professional intervention.  In the early stages, Tthe treatment is simple: practice proper dental hygiene, as we’ll describe later on in this article. However, be aware that if you have advanced gum disease, you will need professional help to treat it.  . For a more comprehensive set of tips, see our list below in the final section.

Drug-Induced Side Effects

Some medications have been found to cause gingival hyperplasia as a side-effect. Drugs that may be associated with gingival hyperplasia include:

  • Phenytoin (medication to prevent seizures).

  • Cyclosporine (medication to reduce the activity of your immune system).

  • Calcium channel blockers (medications used to manage cardiovascular conditions).

It can be dangerous toYou mustn’t modify the dosage of these medications or stop taking them on your own. If you have concerns about side effects, speak to your prescribing physician for advice on how to manage them. 

Genetic Conditions

Genes inherited from your parents may cause a hereditary disorder. These disorders are sometimes evident in childhood but may not be diagnosed until later in life or adulthood. 

One condition known to be connected to gingival hyperplasia is hereditary gingival fibromatosis. This condition causes your gums to developgrow firm, pink growths that may affect your entire gum tissue or a small section of it. If treatment is required, your medical or dental professional may recommend surgical removal or reduction ofreducing your gum tissue to keep your teeth exposed and your dental health in top shape.

Systemic Conditions

If you have other health problems, chronic conditions, or changes to your hormones, these  could be associated with your gingival hyperplasia.

Systemic (general health) causes of gingival hyperplasia may include:

  • Pregnancy and other hormonal fluctuations.

  • Leukemia.

  • Other chronic health conditions

Is Gingival Hyperplasia Painful?

Intense pain from gingival hyperplasia itself is not common. Depending on how swollen your gums are, they may feel tender or uncomfortable, especially when eating certain foods, brushing, or flossing. 

However, some of the causes of gingival hyperplasia can themselves cause pain and discomfort. For example, gum disease can leave the gums inflamed and sore, and it can cause loose teeth in the later stages, which may make eating painful. 

Diagnosing Gingival Hyperplasia

If you’re concerned about gingival hyperplasia, speak with your medical or dental professional for their expert insight. Because this overgrowth has several underlying causes that produce a similar presentation of symptoms, it isn’t easy to properly diagnose yourself.

It’s best to leave diagnosis and treatment up to the pros in most cases, and gingival hyperplasia is no exception. Because some of the causes are potentially concerning health conditions in their own right, you can set yourself up for success by identifying any underlying problem.

Even if you already know the cause of your gums' overgrowth, its presence could highlight the fact that your treatment regimen needs modification. This can help you to avoid side -effects or adverse outcomes, ensuring that you’re as comfortable and healthy as possible.

To diagnose your gingival hyperplasia, your medical or dental professional may:

  • Collect your full medical history and ask what medications you currently take.

  • Perform an oral exam.

  • Recommend biopsy of the affected tissue.

  • Order other tests like a blood panel.

How to Treat Gingival Hyperplasia

The proper treatment for gingival will vary depending on the severity and underlying cause. If the gum tissue impedes proper chewing or cleaning or is otherwise concerning, your dental or medical professional may recommend removing your gum tissue (also known as gingivectomy). They may also recommend a professional cleaning to remove plaque that has hardened into tartar and can’t be removed on your own.

If your medication is causing your hyperplasia, it's never a good idea to stop a prescribed medication or change its dosage on your own. Speak with your medical professional about your concerns. In some cases, an alternate medication may be prescribed.

Regardless of the underlying cause of your gingival hyperplasia, it’s crucial to practice proper dental hygiene to avoid developing other dental problems. Your gums may cause food matter to become lodged or make it difficult for you to properly clean your teeth, leading to increased plaque levels.

To properly care for your gums, be sure to:

  • Clean between your teeth carefully once a day, using floss, a flossing device, or an interdental brush.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

  • Rinse using mouthwash or an antiseptic mouthrinse.

  • Consume a balanced, healthy diet that’s low in sugary or acidic items.

  • Avoid smoking and tobacco products.

  • Visit your dental professional at least every six months to prevent associated dental problems.

What Happens if Gingival Hyperplasia is Left Untreated?

If left untreated, gingival hyperplasia can lead to other oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease, or make existing problems worse. It can also affect your ability to enjoy a nutritious diet, cause misalignment of your teeth, and impact your confidence in your smile. 

Gingival hyperplasia has a range of underlying causes, each with a corresponding treatment that best suits your specific situation. Consulting your dental or medical professional is vital to find the best course forward and improve your health, while preventing other dental or medical problems in the future. 

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.


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2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay


What's behind your smile?

Take our Oral Health assessment to get the most from your oral care routine


2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay