6 Things Parents Need To Know About Hereditary Gingival Fibromatosis

There are many genetic dental disorders that can affect a child's mouth. Hereditary gingival fibromatosis is one of these disorders. It causes an overgrowth of gum tissue in the mouth, and can have serious effects on a child's oral health. Here's what you need to know about this rare disorder.

What causes hereditary gingival fibromatosis?

This disorder is caused by a mutation in the genes. Researchers have discovered that the gene responsible is called the Son of sevenless-1 (SOS1) gene. This gene is responsible for cell growth, and the mutation allows the gum tissue to grow out of control.

What are the signs of this disorder?

Hereditary gingival fibromatosis causes overgrowth of the gum tissue, meaning that the gums are larger than they should be. This isn't just a cosmetic issue; it also leads to other problems inside the mouth. You may notice that your child's permanent teeth are growing in crooked, or in more severe cases, aren't growing in at all. Both of these problems can be caused by the excessive gum tissue in their mouth, which keeps the teeth from erupting properly. In some cases, the gums can grow so large that they completely cover the teeth. 

Another problem for kids with this disorder is gum disease. Oversized gums are harder to clean, which allows bacteria and plaque to accumulate. This build up irritates the gums, and leads to gum disease. Gum disease makes the gums red, swollen, and painful.

In severe cases, the gums can grow large enough to get in the way of chewing, talking, or closing the mouth fully.

Is this disorder linked to any other disorders?

This disorder can occur on its own, but it can also occur as a part of other genetic disorders. If your dentist diagnoses your child with hereditary gingival fibromatosis, you should take your child to your family doctor for further testing. Here are a few of the genetic disorders that have been linked to hereditary gingival fibromatosis:

  • Ramon syndrome
  • Hurtler syndrome
  • Sturge Weber syndrome
  • Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome
  • Cross syndrome
  • Hurtler / scheie
  • I-Cell disease

How common is hereditary gingival fibromatosis?

This disorder is very rare and only affects about 1 out of every 350,000 people. This means that less than 1000 Americans are currently suffering from this disorder. It is equally common among male and female children. 

Can it be treated?

Your child's excess gum tissue can be surgically removed in a procedure called gingivectomy. During this procedure, excess gum tissue will be cut away, and then the remaining gum tissue will be reshaped. The tissue is removed with either scalpels or a laser, depending on your child's individual case and the dentist's preferences. This surgery can be finished very quickly; it usually takes an hour or less to complete.

Is gingivectomy painful?

Gingevectomy sounds scary, but your child won't feel any pain. The dentist will use local anesthesia to numb your child's gums before the procedure starts. The healing period can be uncomfortable, so you will want to feed your child soft foods for the first 10 days or so. Your child will also need to brush their teeth very carefully, since the force of the toothbrush can dislodge the surgical dressings. After two or three months, their gums will be completely healed. 

Hereditary gingival fibromatosis is a rare, yet serious, genetic disorder that affects the mouth. The overgrowth of gum tissue has far reaching effects on a child's oral health, but fortunately, the excess gum tissue can be easily removed. If you think your child has this disorder, make an appointment with a dentist right away so that the disorder can be treated.

For more information, contact a local dentist. You can also visit http://www.drheimann.com to learn more about pediatric dentistry.