While it might seem a purely aesthetic issue, gum overgrowth can lead to a higher risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay. If you are looking to learn more about why this problem occurs and what you can do to treat it, a local periodontist is here to shed light on the topic, so you can make the right decision about your oral health.
Why Are My Gums Growing Over My Teeth?
Also known as gingival hyperplasia, gum overgrowth is a condition that causes the soft tissues surrounding your teeth to cover much of the natural tooth structure. There are many causes of gum overgrowth, such as:
- Gum Disease – When your gums appear red and inflamed, the tissue may begin to bleed when brushing or flossing. If caught early on, your symptoms can dissipate but only if you practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist for regular cleanings.
- Medications – If you take certain medications to prevent seizures, manage heart conditions, or lower your body’s immune system activity, it can cause your gums to grow.
- Genetics – Although there’s not much you can do to prevent gum overgrowth caused by genetics (hereditary gingival fibromatosis), you can at least take action to learn how to prevent worsening conditions as well as treat the problem.
- Systemic Health Conditions – Pregnancy, leukemia, and even HIV, lymphoma, vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, and anemia can lead to gingival hyperplasia.
How Can It Negatively Impact Your Smile?
Apart from the aesthetic imperfections gum overgrowth can cause, this excess tissue can be harmful to your teeth, gums, and jawbone. Over time, if gum disease develops and remains untreated, it can begin to destroy your pearly whites and bone. As a result, your teeth may become loose and even fall out, especially if your facial structure (the jawbone) begins to deteriorate. Should the infection and inflammation enter the bloodstream, you can go on to experience everything from neurological disorders (i.e., dementia, Alzheimer’s), poor gut health, diabetes, kidney disease, respiratory illness, and cardiovascular disease.
Ways to Treat a Gummy Smile
If you notice you have symptoms associated with gum disease, seek professional treatment. Scaling and root planing is a safe and effective way to remove plaque and tartar and improve your gum health. You can also ask your dentist about surgical options. With laser therapy, they can quickly eliminate the overgrowth to create an even gum line without excessive bleeding or swelling. Not to mention, you will heal faster and avoid potential reinfection.
You can also:
- Maintain optimal oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, and rinsing regularly
- Eat healthier foods that are rich in nutrients and vitamins while limiting your intake of sugars and starches
- Find ways to lower your stress, as this is a common culprit of gum disease
- See your dentist for general checkups and cleanings
Treating excess gum tissue will allow you to better manage your oral health and embrace a more aesthetically pleasing smile.
About the Author
Dr. Richard Aguila earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from West Virginia University. He then went on to attend the Naval Medical Center San Diego to complete a hospital-based General Practice Residency. Dr. Aguila also possesses a master’s degree in health sciences and a certificate in periodontics. At Jacksonville Dental Specialists, he and Dr. Matthew Nawrocki understand the difficulties gum overgrowth can cause, which is why they offer periodontal and laser therapy and gum grafting to address the problem. If you struggle to feel confident in your smile, contact us at (904) 683-4781.