Why Are My Gums Swollen? Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Casey Ledford24 August 2023

It’s not uncommon for our gums to throw a little tantrum from time to time, and when they do, they can become swollen and uncomfortable. But don’t worry, you’re not alone! Swollen gums can happen to anyone, and there are plenty of effective dental treatments available to help you find relief and get back to flashing that beautiful smile of yours. In this friendly discussion, we’ll dive into the world of swollen gums, explore the reasons behind this common issue, and discover the various dental treatments that can help you put that smile back on your face. So, let’s embark on this journey to healthier gums together!

What Do Swollen or Sore Gums Mean?

Swollen gums serve as a common signal for the presence of gum disease, but they can emerge due to a multitude of reasons. These factors include infections, hormonal shifts, and deficiencies in vital vitamins. The state of having swollen gums may be a passing discomfort or a prolonged concern.

What Causes Swollen Gums?

Swollen gums can arise from a multitude of sources. Dental issues are frequently responsible for this manifestation. These dental factors encompass situations such as foreign objects becoming lodged in the gums, such as popcorn hulls, as well as more severe concerns like:

  • abscessed teeth, gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease)
  • periodontitis (advanced gum disease)
  • trench mouth (a severe form of gum disease)
  • gingivostomatitis (a mouth infection of viral or bacterial origin)
  • ill-fitting dentures
  • orthodontic treatments
  • tooth decay
  • infected teeth
  • root fractures
  • foreign objects accidentally trapped beneath the gum line, like food particles or dental materials

Alternatively, swollen gums can be triggered by non-dental factors, including:

  • side effects of certain medications
  • viral infections
  • fungal infections
  • deficiencies in Vitamin B or Vitamin C
  • poorly controlled diabetes
  • tobacco usage in the form of smoking or other tobacco products
  • hormonal shifts experienced during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
  • blood-related disorders

At-Home Treatments for Swollen Gums

If your swollen gums persist for more than two weeks, you should see a dentist. Meanwhile, there are certain things you may do at home to alleviate your symptoms:

  • Brush and floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Several times per day, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater.
  • To minimize swelling and inflammation, place an ice pack on your face.

Medical Treatments for Swollen Gums

The treatment for swollen gums varies depending on the underlying cause. If gum disease is responsible, a dentist or a specialized periodontist can suggest appropriate gum disease treatments.

Common dental interventions for addressing swollen gums encompass:

  • Antibiotics.
  • Enhanced oral hygiene practices, including more thorough brushing and flossing.
  • Dental procedures such as tooth scaling and root planing, involving a deep cleaning of the teeth.
  • Osseous surgery, which aims to reduce the pockets around the teeth.
  • LANAP® (laser-assisted new attachment procedure).

In cases where the swelling is localized around a single tooth, it may indicate the presence of a dental abscess. In such instances, a dentist might recommend either root canal therapy or tooth extraction as the necessary steps to address the issue.

When swollen gums are not attributed to gum disease, a healthcare provider will undertake a diagnostic process to identify the root cause. This typically involves ordering tests to assess if an alternative health condition, such as an infection, diabetes, or vitamin deficiencies, is responsible. Following the determination of the cause, the appropriate course of treatment will be recommended.

Does Gum Swelling Go Away?

Certainly, with appropriate treatment, swollen gums can indeed subside. There are instances where the swelling may even improve without intervention. For instance, if a foreign object becomes lodged in your gums, removing it should lead to the resolution of the swelling. However, when swollen gums are a result of gum disease, seeking treatment is typically necessary. Addressing gum disease promptly significantly enhances your prospects for sustaining good long-term oral health.

In cases where swollen gums stem from other factors, your healthcare provider will advise on the suitable course of action. However, the specific treatment prescribed will be contingent upon the underlying cause.

How CDG Can Help

A Cosmetic Dentistry Grant is for anyone who wishes to enhance their oral health and restore confidence in their smile, but you must first meet eligibility requirements. Apply now with CDG to see if you’re eligible!