Enlarged Gums in Dogs and Cats

Gingival hyperplasia, also known as gum overgrowth, is an oral disease that can affect humans, dogs, and cats alike. Gingival hyperplasia refers to enlarged gums that create a type of “pocket” between the gums and the tooth surface. 

If enlarged gums are left untreated, this oral disease can lead to periodontal disease and oral discomfort. Montana’s only board certified veterinary dentist, Dr. Tony Woodward at Montana Pet Dentistry and Oral Surgery, is highly skilled at treating issues such as gingival hyperplasia in dogs and cats.

What Causes of Gingival Hyperplasia in Pets?

While the causes of gingival hyperplasia may vary, genetics often play a role in its development. In dogs, this condition occurs more frequently in certain breeds like Boxers, Dobermans, Collies, Great Danes, and Labrador Retrievers. Additionally, certain medications such as cyclosporine, some anti-seizure medications, and blood pressure medications can stimulate gum overgrowth.

While overgrown gum tissue may seem harmless, it can actually lead to major health problems for your pet if left untreated. Plaque, food, and even hair can get trapped within the pockets, causing bad breath, inflammation, infection, and pain.

How Is Gingival Hyperplasia Treated?

Once we identify the underlying cause of the gingival hyperplasia, we’ll be able to move forward with a course of treatment. Treatment for gingival hyperplasia depends on the cause of the gingival hyperplasia, but usually includes surgical reduction of the overgrown gum tissues with a special radio-surgical instrument. Gingival hyperplasia is easily confused with true periodontal pockets. While the appearance can be similar, treatment is quite different.

Sometimes a cleaning alone may not be enough to find hidden problems and maintain optimal oral health. To treat any underlying issues that may be lurking below the crown and gums of your pet’s teeth, we recommend a full Comprehensive Oral Assessment and Treatment (COHAT). 

A COHAT includes a thorough cleaning and polishing of your pet’s teeth, an intra-oral examination, and dental x-rays, all under anesthesia. After the examination, we will create a treatment plan for any problems we find. 

If the cause is related to your dog’s breed, a COHAT should be performed every 6 months to determine if gingivectomy surgery is needed. If medication has caused gingival hyperplasia in your pet, treatment will likely need to be repeated throughout the course of the pet’s medication. Your vet might also lower the dosage to reduce this negative side effect. 

Veterinary Dentist in Bozeman

Gingival hyperplasia can occur in both dogs and cats, and if left untreated, it may lead to periodontal disease and oral pain. Dr. Tony Woodward at Montana Pet Dentistry and Oral Surgery is experienced in successfully treating this common oral disease. If you suspect your pet may have gingival hyperplasia, visit our website or give us a call today to schedule an appointment at our office in Bozeman. 

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