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Gingival Overgrowth in Children: Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, and Complications. A Literature Review

Oral Medicine

Gingival overgrowth is the enlargement of the attached gingivadue to an increased number of cells.

The most prevalent types ofgingival overgrowth in children are drug-induced gingival over-growth, hereditary gingival fibromatosis (HGF), and neurofibro-matosis I (von Recklinghausen disease).

Gingival overgrowthinduced by drugs such as phenytoin, nifedipine, and cyclosporindevelops due to an increase in the connective tissue extracellularmatrix. According to epidemiologic studies, it is more prevalent inmale children and adolescents.


There is an additive effect of thosedrugs on the degree of gingival overgrowth. Genetic heterogene-ity seems to play an important role in the development of the dis-ease.

Functional difficulties, disfigurement, increased caries, anddelayed eruption of permanent teeth are the main complicationsof drug-induced gingival overgrowth. HGF is the most common syn-dromic gingival enlargement in children.

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This autosomal dominantdisease usually appears at the time of eruption of permanent den-tition. Histologically, it is characterized by highly collagenized con-nective tissue.

The most important complications are drifting ofteeth, prolonged retention of primary dentition, diastemata, andpoor plaque control. Neurofibromatosis I is an autosomal dominantdisease more common in mentally handicapped individuals.

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Aikaterini Doufexi / Mina Mina and Effie Ioannidou

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