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Hereditary Gingival Fibromatosis (HGF) also referred to as idiopathic gingival hyperplasia is a rare type of slow growing gingival enlargement with great clinical and genetic heterogenity inherited usually as Mendelian autosomal dominant fashion. Occurring as an isolated trait (HGF) and/or as a component of a syndrome, the affected gingiva is characterized by firm, asymptomatic, non-hemorrhagic enlarged (hyperplastic) tissue with characteristic pale pink colour, covering most of the anatomic crown, involving usually all the quadrants. There is no definitive treatment present but post pubertal surgical intervention and good oral hygiene maintenance can improve the compromised esthetics and function of the patient. This paper presents a case report of a 15 year old male suffering from hereditary gingival fibromatosis with a positive family history. Periodontal management including gingivectomy (external bevel) was being undertaken after biopsy.

Key words: Hereditary gingival fibromatosis; Plasma cell gingivitis, Oro-facial granulomatosis, Drug induced gingival hyperplasia


Hereditary gingival fibromatosis first reported by Goddard and Gross in 18561, is a rare, benign, non-haemorrhagic fibrous enlargement of gingival tissue. It was previously called elephantiasis gingival, hereditary gingival hyperplasia and hypertrophic gingiva.2

Males and females are equally affected at phenotype frequency of 1:750,0003,4 with varying intensity and expressivity even in individuals within the same family. Onset is common during the eruption of permanent teeth. This condition may predispose to mal-positioning of the teeth, retention of deciduous teeth5, esthetic and functional problems. Several reports mentioned involvement of deciduous dentition.3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 It can also be classified as non-plaque induced gingival lesion caused by various genetic disorders. Hereditary gingival fibromatosis presents as pale pink colour 8,13 of the gingiva with quite firm consistency in the form of generalized symmetric form (common) or as localized nodular form as multiple enlargements (uncommon).

HGF can potentially interfere with speech, lip competency and mastication resulting in both esthetic and functional problems.15,16

Parental consanguinity can be significantly seen in this disease. Hereditary gingival fibromatosis can occur as a solely manifestation affecting the gingiva only, with no other local or systemic involvement or is associated with certain syndromes; some of them are described below (Table 1).5,6

Hereditary gingival fibromatosis should also be differentially diagnosed from a number of diseases


Associated Syndromes###Main Features

Zimmer-man Laband syndrome###HGF and facial deformities such as enlarged nose and

###pinnae of ear, nail dystrophy, hypoplastic distal phalan

###ges, epilepsy, hepato-splenomegaly, deafness, mental


Rutherford syndrome (Oculo-dental syndrome)###HGF and corneal dystrophy/opacity, aggressive behaviour,

###mental retardation.

Jones syndrome###HGF and progressive deafness, maxillary odontogenic

###cysts and undescended testis.

Cross syndrome###HGF and microphthalmia, mental retardation, hypo-

###pigmentation, athetosis.

Murray-Puretic Drescher's syndrome###HGF and involvement of bones, joints, cartilage, skin,

###muscles(Juvenilehyalinefibromatosis) (flexion


Ramon syndrome###HGF and cherubism, hypertrichosis, mental retardation,

###seizures, stunted growth, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.


Generalized symmetric enlargements###Generalized nodular enlargements

-###Plasma cell gingivitis###-###Neurofibromatosis (type 1 and 2)

-###Plaque induced gingival hyperplasia###-###Cowden's syndrome

-###Drugs (phenytoin, cyclosporine, and calcium###-###Gardner's syndrome

###channel blockers) induced gingival enlargement###-###Tuberous sclerosis


-###Leukemia (Acute myeloid leukemia)

-###Oro-facial granulomatosis

-###Crohn's disease


-###Wegener's granulomatosis


-###Sturge Weber syndrome

(table 2) that might show the same features as that of hereditary gingival fibromatosis, though clinically hereditary gingival fibromatosis can be diagnosed by its peculiar gingival features (with or without involvement of associated syndromes) and positive family history. Sometimes histopathological features may prove helpful in strengthening the clinical diagnosis of hereditary gingival fibromatosis. The classical histopathological features of hereditary gingival fibromatosis are highly fibrous connective tissue, with haphazardly arranged dense collagen bundles, numerous spindle shaped fibroblasts, and connective tissue that is relatively avascular. Thickened, acanthotic and hyper-keratotic stratified squamous epithelium is also present with elongated rete ridges. Superficial layers of epithelium may occasionally show features of inflammation (edema).3,8,14,15,16,17 The degree of gingival enlargement in hereditary gingival fibromatosis can be graded as shown in the table above (Table 3).8

Hereditary gingival fibromatosis as an isolated trait is usually transmitted


Grade 0: No gingival enlargement.

Grade 1: Enlargement confined to interdental papilla.

Grade 2: Enlargement involving papilla and marginal gingiva.

Grade 3: Enlargement covering three quarter or more of crown.

in an autosomal dominant pattern, while the syndromic forms are transmitted in an autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive or even as X-linked inheritance. Chromosomes 2, 4 and 5 seem to include the most important and known genetic loci, including 2p21-p22 (GINGF), 2p13-p16, 2p22.3-23 (GINGF3), 5q13-q22 (GINGF2), 4q21, and 4q that enables mutations, duplications, deletions, and other genetic anomalies to take place. Other genetic loci such as 8, 14q, 19p, 19q and Xq are also related to syndromes associated with hereditary gingival fibromatosis.6,8 Hart and colleagues identified a mutation in the Son of sevenless-1 (SOS1) gene, which results in a single nucleotide insertion (autosomal dominant) mutation in codon 1083 of GINGF.18


A 15 years old male patient along with his mother reported to the Oral Medicine Department of Fatima Memorial Hospital College of Dentistry, Lahore, Pakistan with the chief complaint of swollen gums (Fig 1). Swelling was not associated with pain. The swelling began 5 years earlier and caused difficulties in speaking and eating and he also had obvious implications for his aesthetic appearance. The patient's medical history appeared to be non-contributory to the development of the gingival enlargement. Such as, the patient had no history of using drugs i.e. phenytoin, nifedipine, or cyclosporine which are notorious in producing gingival enlargement.2,5,6 The patient revealed a family history in the form of his mother and three younger brothers which was apparently significant to the present finding. The patient's mother had similar intra oral features in the form of gingival enlargement, involving to various extents, the maxilla as well as the mandible (Fig 2) with no syndromic association.

Parental consanguinity was also present. Intra-oral examination of the patient revealed generalized enlargement of the gingiva on both arches with pale pink colour (Figs 3,4) and firm fibrous consistency with no significant plaque deposition (Figs 5,6). Gingival enlargement was so firm that initially it appeared to be associated with bony over growth, which was then excluded by occlusal radiographs (Figs 7,8). The dental panoramic radiograph of the patient revealed no periodontal involvement and there was no mobility clinically in any tooth (Fig 9). Gingival enlargement enclosed the major surfaces of the teeth present, illustrating Grade 3 gingival overgrowth. Medical and drug history of the patient was unremarkable. Biopsy samples from both arches were taken for histopathological examination. Based on the above findings and positive family history the diagnosis of "Hereditary Gingival Fibromatosis" was made with no syndromic association.

Multidisciplinary approach for treatment was considered, involving Oral physicians, Oral surgeons and Periodontologists. Treatment decided was full mouth gingivectomy (external bevel) under local anesthesia (Fig 10). Considering the size and extent of gingival enlargement, a segment wise gingivectomy was performed (Fig 11) followed by electro-cauterization of the resected margins (Fig 12).


As mentioned earlier, hereditary gingival fibromatosis depicts the generalized gingival enlargement with no other systemic manifestations. HGF can be present along with other abnormalities in the form of certain syndromic associations. Most of the associated syndromes may include epilepsy, deafness, hypertrichosis, mental retardation along with hereditary gingival fibromatosis. Also, some isolated generalized gingival lesions such as Plasma cell gingivitis, Plaque induced gingival hyperplasia, Scurvy; may show generalized symmetric gingival enlargements. These conditions can be differentiated from hereditary gingival fibromatosis on the basis of medical history, clinical examination and histopathalo-gical findings. For example in Plasma cell gingivitis the gingival enlargement is red in colour and can be symptomatic and histopathalogical examination reveals dense infiltrate of plasma cells separated into aggregates by strands of collagen.

It is a hypersensitivity reaction to some allergenic agent, often flavorings or spices {Khat (Catha edulis), Black pepper, Cinnamon}. Oro-facial granulomatosis can be demarcated from hereditary gingival fibromatosis by observing the features of oro-facial granulomatosis in addition to gingival enlargement which are absent in hereditary gingival fibromatosis. These features include lip swelling, cobblestoning, mucosal tags, tongue fissuring, angular cheilitis, median cheilitis, oral ulceration, bell's palsy and cervical lymphadenopathy. Gingival enlargement though usually generalized, is granular and reddish in appearance in oro-facial granulomatosis which differs from the gingival enlargement of HGF which is usually smooth, homogenous and is pale pink in colour.

In Crohn's disease the oro-facial features are similar to that of oro-facial granulomatosis and there are additional GIT features of inflammation of ileo-ceacal region with symptoms of abdominal pain/cramps, diarrhoea, constipation, rectal bleeding and signs of peri anal tags and patchy deep intestinal mucosal ulcerations of ileoceacal region. Such features are absent in Hereditary gingival fibromatosis. Plaque induced gingival hyper-plasia usually presents with reddish swollen gums that may show bleeding. In Scurvy, in addition to the gingival enlargement there can be gingival ulceration along with moderate to severe bleeding of the gums which is absent in hereditary gingival fibromatosis. In Sarcoidosis the gingival enlargement is granular in appearance which is associated with other intra oral features such as oral ulceration, split nodules on the palate, bone lytic lesions and jaw bone overgrowth, xerostomia and extra orally with granulomatous lips swelling and salivary glands swelling.

Such features are absent in hereditary gingival fibromatosis. Wegener's granulomatosis is a vasculitides in which the gingival enlargement takes a specific texture and colour of a strawberry and is thus known as strawberry like gingivitis. There are several other oro-facial manifestations of Wegener's granulomatosis including the intra oral features of oral mucosal ulceration, osteonecrosis, oro-antral fistula, tooth mobility and exfoliation and extra oral features of lip swelling and salivary glands enlargement particularly parotid glands swelling. These manifestations are absent in hereditary gingival fibromatosis. Keeping all these facts in mind, diagnosis of hereditary gingival fibromatosis was made on the basis of positive family history, parental consanguinity, classical clinical features and absence of any syndromic association. Since there is no cure of the disease, therefore only supportive therapies can be given to the patient one of which is surgical resection of the gingival enlargement.

Gingivectomy (external bevel) is usually performed and may show staisfactory results (Fig 13) and is preferred to be done post-pubertal as there are less chances of recurrences. The exact rationale behind post-pubertal decreased recurrence is not clearly understood and is believed to be associated with certain puberty hormones.

Further research needs to be done particularly on the genetic basis and treatment strategies of this rare familial gingival fibromatous disease.


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1 Assistant Professor and Head of Oral Medicine Department, Fatima Memorial Hospital College of Dentistry, Lahore. Res: 93-K, Street-4, Phase-5, DHA Lahore. Email:, Contact number: Cell: 0300 9638625

2 Demonstrator Oral Medicine

3,4 House Officers Oral Medicine

5 MCPS Trainee in Periodontology
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Publication:Pakistan Oral and Dental Journal
Date:Aug 31, 2012

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