Ginigival Hyperplasia

By February 3, 2019Family Pet Veterinary Blog

As described in a
recent post, dental
conditions are often hidden and painful. The following posts are
going to help describe conditions that pets can get as well as
treatment. Many people I talk with are surprised how we can help pets
with dental conditions and save teeth whenever possible.

While the above
images look drastic, this particular patient was much-improved 1 year
later:

With the mild
regrowth, retreatment is still needed, but there has not been
destruction to the point of tooth loss. Left untreated the excess
tissue traps food and hair between the tissue and the teeth resulting
in loss of supporting structures and eventually teeth.

The above images and
statements have been referring to gingival hyperplasia. Technically
it cannot be said what this tissue is without biopsy results. We can
say for certain is that there is gingival enlargement (GE). Whether
the gingival enlargement is due to hyperplasia or hypertrophy, or
whether the enlargement involves extensive thickening of the tissue,
the goal is the same: return the structure and function of the area
to a healthy sulcus (the space between the gum and the tooth).

Here are some
additional examples of gingival enlargement before and after
treatment.

Though sometimes
quite focal, often these lesions are generalized, particularly in
breeds that show a familial tendency, such as Boxers, Bulldogs, and
Collies.

Gingival enlargement can also be caused by hormonal changes or
different drug administration (e.g., cyclosporine, amlodipine) in
some patients.

Some gingival
enlargements may actually be growths or tumors and seem like other
non-concerning changes seen in other patient. This is why all types
of GE should be biopsied. Biopsy samples should be sent to an ORAL
pathologist. Dr. Cindy Bell (KSU) currently is the leader oral
pathology. Speaking from experience, it appears her reads tend to be
more definitive than others. She is down to earth and will actually
talk to veterinarians about treatment or help provide connections to
speak to a veterinary dentist about the case.

Check out the oral tumor section to learn more.