Can Gums Grow Over Teeth: When & Why

April 15, 2024
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When we think about oral health, we usually think about our teeth first. But our gums are just as important if thin gum tissues are problematic. Thick and protruding gums are not good news either. If seeing puffy gum tissues makes you wonder, “Can gums grow over teeth”? Read on to discover the answer.

What Do You Call the Overgrown Gums?

Excessive gum growth over and around a tooth is called Gingival hyperplasia. It happens when there’s too much gum tissue around the teeth. It can occur because of bad oral hygiene or from taking certain medications. Some other medical terms to define the condition are:

  • Gingival overgrowth
  • Gum enlargement
  • Hypertrophy
  • Hypertrophic gingivitis

Well-Known Causes of Gum Enlargement

Gum overgrowth, also known as gingival hyperplasia, can happen due to:

  • Inflammation: When gums get swollen and red due to plaque buildup from not cleaning teeth well, it can lead to overgrowth. Better brushing and flossing can fix this.
  • Medications: Some drugs, like those for seizures or high blood pressure, can cause gum overgrowth. It usually goes away once you stop taking the medicine.
  • Health Issues: Pregnancy, hormonal problems, or diseases like HIV or diabetes can also make your gums grow too much. Treating the underlying health issue usually helps.
  • Genetics: Some people have a rare condition called hereditary gingival fibromatosis, where their gums slowly get bigger over time because their body makes too much collagen. This starts in childhood but might not show up until adulthood.

How Does Gingival Hyperplasia Negatively Impact Your Teeth?

Gum overgrowth can cause both appearance and health problems. It can make your gum line look uneven and your smile less attractive. But it’s not just about looks – it can also affect your teeth and bones. When your gums grow too much because of inflammation, your immune system might start attacking the gum tissue and the bacteria. This can lead to swelling and make it easier for tartar, bacteria, and other harmful particles to get trapped under your gums, making your teeth decay faster.

How to Treat the Gums Growing Over Teeth?

Whether your gingival hyperplasia is genetic or due to other factors like medications and health issues, the following treatments can help:

  • Improving Oral Hygiene: For many people, better dental care can help prevent or lessen gum overgrowth. Brushing and flossing regularly can make a big difference.
  • Surgery: If gum overgrowth is caused by medication or a health condition, doctors may suggest surgery. This means removing the extra gum tissue.
  • Recurrent Cases: Sometimes, even with better oral hygiene and treatments, gum overgrowth keeps returning. Surgery might be needed to remove the excess gum tissue in these cases. These surgeries include:
  • Laser Treatment: Lasers remove extra gum tissue and clean away plaque around the teeth.
  • Electrosurgery: Electric currents cut or remove the overgrown gum tissue.
  • Flap Surgery: The gums are separated from the teeth so the dentist can remove the extra tissue and clean around the teeth.
  • Gingivectomy: A part of the gums around the teeth is cut away, and the remaining gums are stitched back.

Final Word

If your gums look puffy and you can’t help thinking, “Can gums grow over teeth?” Yes. But if your teeth look shorter than them, it can also be due to worn-out teeth. Such confusion is highly unlikely; gingival hyperplasia is a visibly noticeable condition.

Visit our board-certified periodontist, Dr. Bader Abdeen, at Cypress Periodontics and Dental Implants. Our doctor holds the esteemed Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology and Surgical Dental Implant Treatment designation. Call us at (281) 677-0222.

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