Treating patients with drug-induced gingival overgrowth.

Ana L Thompson, Wayne William Herman, Joseph Konzelman, Marie A. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to review the causes and describe the appearance of drug-induced gingival overgrowth, so that dental hygienists are better prepared to manage such patients. Gingival overgrowth is caused by three categories of drugs: anticonvulsants, immunosuppressants, and calcium channel blockers. Some authors suggest that the prevalence of gingival overgrowth induced by chronic medication with calcium channel blockers is uncertain. The clinical manifestation of gingival overgrowth can range in severity from minor variations to complete coverage of the teeth, creating subsequent functional and aesthetic problems for the patient. A clear understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of drug-induced gingival overgrowth has not been confirmed, but scientists consider that factors such as age, gender, genetics, concomitant drugs, and periodontal variables might contribute to the expression of drug-induced gingival overgrowth. When treating patients with gingival overgrowth, dental hygienists need to be prepared to offer maintenance and preventive therapy, emphasizing periodontal maintenance and patient education. The affected gingiva presents a bulbous and irregular appearance and requires special modifications in the delivery of dental hygiene care. Dental hygienists play a vital role in the prevention and control of this condition because of the significant correlation between plaque/gingivitis and gingival overgrowth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH / American Dental Hygienists' Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


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