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Is Oral Surgery Required for Gingival Enlargement?

Oral surgery is the solution for many dental woes, but it is necessary if you suffer from gingival enlargement?

excessive growth of gums

Gingival enlargement (GE), or excessive growth of the gums, can cause difficulties when eating and speaking. In severe cases, the overgrowth covers the crowns of the teeth and leads to periodontal disease.

For some patients, the condition can be a cosmetic issue as well.

But whether you need surgery for GE depends upon the cause of your problem.

Proper Oral Hygiene Can Eliminate Gingival Enlargement

Are your gums tender, red and swollen? Do they bleed easily?

Your gum overgrowth may be an inflammatory response to the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky bacteria film that continually forms on your teeth and gums, a natural reaction to the foods and beverages you consume.

Plaque buildup can be controlled through proper oral hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing, along with regular oral health examinations, usually works to keep plaque in check.

If your gingival enlargement is the result of plaque accumulation, oral surgery will probably not be necessary. The condition may resolve itself with extra vigilance toward oral hygiene, potentially enhanced by periodontal treatments from your dentist.

Medication Changes Can Resolve Gingival Enlargement

Some prescription medications can also cause gingival enlargement.

Certain anticonvulsants, immunosuppressants and cardiovascular drugs are associated with overgrowth of gum tissue. Not all patients on these medications develop the condition, but poor oral hygiene can increase the risk.

When a prescription drug is the source of the problem, the gum tissues appear firm and pale pink, and they don’t feel tender or bleed easily. In many cases, the gum enlargement will go away if the medication is discontinued.

Oral Surgery May Sometimes Be Necessary

For some patients, however, drug discontinuation or substitution isn’t an option. For others, maintaining diligent oral hygiene habits isn’t enough to resolve gum overgrowth.

In these cases, oral surgery may be the answer.

Scaling and root planing can be done to get rid of bacteria and plaque below the gumline. Then, through a surgical procedure called a gingivectomy, the excess gum tissue can be removed to expose the full length of the teeth.

In some cases, reconstructive gum surgery, or gingivoplasty, is required to reshape the gum tissue around the teeth.

For a less invasive treatment with a faster healing time, these procedures are often performed with a laser. A gingivectomy or gingivoplasty usually requires only local anesthesia, and most surgeries are finished in under an hour.

Do you have gum overgrowth? The oral surgery team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah has extensive experience in helping patients with gingival enlargement. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office to schedule an oral surgery consultation today.

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