As a denture wearer, you might have noticed some strange growths developing on your gums. They may at first be painless, but can become more uncomfortable. And they are worrying, since denture irritation can increase your risk of oral cancer.

The good news is that these growths are likely not cancer. The bad news is, they may be caused by your dentures.

Causes of Gum Overgrowth

The condition you’re experiencing is called gingival hyperplasia, or more simply gum overgrowth. One of the most common reasons why your gums will express these growths is simply denture irritation. You may or may not experience discomfort (remember you can’t always tell about changes occurring with your dentures), but your gums are probably being irritated by your dentures, and are responding by growing excessively.

However, there are also some other potential causes of gum overgrowth, such as medications. If you are taking anti-seizure medications, including phenytoin or phenobarbital, they may be responsible. Certain high blood pressure medications known as calcium channel blockers may cause gum overgrowth. And some immunosuppressants that are prescribed for psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders can lead to gum overgrowth.

Other times, what you’re experiencing is not gum overgrowth, but gum swelling, which can be caused by vitamin deficiencies, irritation, or infection.

And there’s always a chance–although a slight one–that the growths are cancerous, so you should be evaluated for oral cancer, too.

Treatment of Gum Overgrowth

The good news is that in many cases you don’t need any treatment for gum overgrowth. If it’s not painful and doesn’t interfere with your denture fit, it won’t need treatment. However, if there is a medication responsible for gum overgrowth, it’s generally recommended that you find an alternative.

If, on the other hand, your gum overgrowth is uncomfortable or interferes with your dentures, surgical removal is the only treatment available. Laser surgery means this is typically quick and doesn’t result in much discomfort or risk.

Then to avoid the recurrence of gum overgrowth, it is recommended that you replace ill-fitting dentures that may have contributed to your condition.

If you would like to learn more about getting great-fitting dentures in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment at Smile Columbia Dentistry.