From stains and cavities to impacted wisdom teeth and gum disease, the various issues that can affect the look and health of your smile are overwhelming. While most of these issues are easy to diagnose, other dental disorders can be a bit more challenging to understand. Gingival fibromatosis is a rare hereditary condition that affects 1 in every 750,000 people. Also known as HGF, the disorder affects the gum tissue mainly, causing the gums to grow excessively over time, eventually covering the teeth. Thankfully, help is available for patients who are living with hereditary gingival fibromatosis. With this guide, you will understand the causes, signs, and treatment options for HGF.
Genetic factors increase the risk of gingival fibromatosis, sondividuals who have family members with HGF are likely to develop the condition. A mutation of certain genes is also responsible for causing hereditary gingival fibromatosis. In most cases, HGF can be seen at birth, so diagnosis and treatment of the disorder can begin immediately if necessary.
An overgrowth of gum tissue is the most common sign of hereditary gingival fibromatosis. The gum tissue can grow over a portion of the teeth or cover one or more teeth entirely.
Inflammation and swelling of the gum tissue is also common with this disorder. Some patients who have HGF may experience light bleeding of the gums due to the inflammation. It is important to consult your dentist immediately if you have these signs, especially since the inflammation and bleeding may also stem from periodontal disease.
Other signs of HGF may not be as obvious. Here are a few other signs of hereditary gingival fibromatosis:
- Difficulty chewing/eating
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Unexplained loss of one or more teeth
- Abnormally shaped teeth
- Difficulty speaking
- Pain and discomfort in the gums
Also, because the gum tissue can cover portions of the teeth, brushing and flossing can be difficult. Without proper brushing and flossing, you will have a higher risk of decay, cavities, and gum disease.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that treating HGF is not always necessary. Most patients are able to live a normal lifestyle, even though the enlarged gums and excess tissue affect the look of their smile. However, your dentist may recommend surgery to reduce the gum tissue, preventing any further problems with your smile.
To get started, your dentist may order a biopsy of enlarged growths on the gum tissue. A biopsy will confirm whether the enlarged gum tissue stems from hereditary gingival fibromatosis or whether it's due to another condition, such as cancer. If the tissue is benign, surgery may still be recommended to reduce the amount of gum tissue affecting your smile. A gingivectomy is the most common surgery for patients with HGF.
During a gingivectomy, your dentist will cut out sections of the gum tissue. A local anesthetic is administered to you before the procedure, numbing your entire mouth. The procedure removes excess gum tissue using a scalpel or laser technology. This reduces the gums covering your teeth while also giving your dentist the opportunity to clean the underlying gum tissue and teeth in full.
After the surgery, continued oral hygiene is crucial for reducing plaque, tartar, and bacteria that can affect the mouth, teeth, and gums. With the excessive tissue removed, you will be able to brush and floss in the most effective manner possible.
If you or a family member is living with HGF, do not panic, since the disorder is not life-threatening. However, consulting your dentist is smart for preventing dental disorders that stem from the excess gum tissue. Contact a dental office like the Couchman Center for Complete Dentistry for more information.Share