Are your gums swelling up?

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January 11, 2021

Gum swellings can occur in one area of your gums or throughout. There are different reasons for these gum swellings, but have one major thing in common- they are largely irritating, and you want to be rid of the swelling immediately. Cheer up, we’re here to help you out! 

Gum swellings around a single tooth- A sign of Infection

Swellings around a single tooth are generally due to some sort of infection, either in the tooth or in the surrounding tissues called abscesses or pus. Think of them like a pimple, but inside your mouth, and shouldn’t be left alone. They can occur due to tooth decay- if the pulp inside your root canal is infected, pus collects under the tooth and causes a swelling in the gums. This can also occur if the gum itself is infected.

Treatment- Abscesses are quite easy to treat. Your dentist will remove the underlying cause of the abscess- either by doing a root canal or by cleaning your gums. Your dentist may prescribe you some antibiotics to help reduce and eliminate the infection. Never let an abscess sit in your mouth for too long, visit a dentist soon if you find you have one.

Gum Disease- Are you sure you’re brushing properly?

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Gum disease is a super common ailment. People regularly ignore their teeth and let them accumulate tartar or dental plaque. This may cause swelling in the gums. As so commonly you may notice bleeding from your gums while brushing your teeth. It may start with just one area- a bulge in the gums between two teeth. It can, however, spread to affect the entire width of your gums. Inflamed and swollen gums are common in diseases like gingivitis or periodontitis that are left untreated for long. 

Studies have shown that habitually breathing from your mouth can cause gum disease and eventually gum swelling.

Treatment– Your dentist will assess the extent of your disease and start with a cleaning. Depending on the severity of your disease, you may be recommended advanced treatment. If plaque and calculus are the reason for your swelling gums , they generally subside with a simple teeth cleaning procedure. Book an appointment with your dentist even if you feel the swelling has reduced- sometimes, the swelling reduces for a while and then comes back with a vengeance!

Medication – Always know Side Effects!

Certain types of medications could cause swelling in the gums. People on seizure medication, immunosuppressants like steroids, or those on medication for heart disease, specifically, are at risk of developing swollen gums. Make sure you know about the side effects of your medication, and if you think your oral health is being compromised, consult your doctor immediately. If you see something- say something!

Treatment- Gum swellings caused by medication usually go away once you stop popping the pills. Make sure your doctor and dentist both stay updated on your condition!

Injury and Gum Swellings- Pay attention if you are hurt

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Some mild injuries cause trigger a conditioned response from the gums that causes swelling in the gums or may even cause them to bleed. Injuries can be due to sharp dentures, fillings that hang outside the tooth and cause gaps, braces or sharp edges of caps one may have on the tooth. The swellings are usually in one area of the gums, next to the offending prosthesis or at the site of injury.

Treatment– Your dentist will first investigate the cause of injury and correct it. At times the gum swellings may require surgical removal. It’s not so bad as it sounds since its just a minor procedure and you need not worry about it at all.

Pregnancy and other hormonal states- your loopy hormones could be the cause

People going through pregnancy, puberty or menopause are more likely to develop gum swellings. These conditions are very likely to worsen or aggravate existing inflammation. Be extra careful about your oral health in these conditions, and call on your dentist every six months!

Treatment– Based on the cause of your swelling, your dentist or hygienist will do a cleaning. There is usually a spontaneous reduction in swelling after pregnancy or puberty, but it will not completely go away unless the irritant- dental plaque or calculus- is removed.

Pre-existing Conditions- Know your disease

Swollen gums are linked to systemic diseases like leukaemia or inflammatory diseases. Vitamin C deficiency may also cause the same.

Treatment– Your oral health provider will work along with your doctor to provide you with treatments like cleaning. Always keep your dentist and doctor updated on your condition.

Tumours – Don’t go self-diagnosing!

Sometimes, gum swellings can be tumours. These are usually benign, i.e, unable to spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumours- those which can spread to other parts of the body- are very rare. Book an appointment with your dentist if you notice a bulge in the gums with no apparent cause. Remember to never self-diagnose!

There can be a myriad of reasons for swelling of your gums. Regular check-ups with your dentist can help you avoid any nasty surprises and Keep up with good oral hygiene! 

Highlights-
1) Gum swellings can be caused due to several different reasons- Infection, improper oral hygiene, medication or other pre-existing conditions
2) Gum swellings can be short term and around one tooth, or long term and affecting the entire gums
3) Never leave your swollen gums alone- always get them checked out by your dentist!

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