Swollen Gums

  • Sep 28 2018

If I have swollen gums is it necessary for me to make an appointment with my dentist?

Which kind of person are you? When you detect something wrong physically, such as swollen gums, do you always assume the worst and rush off to a periodontist expecting to immediately be scheduled for surgery? Or, given the same symptoms, do you think “probably nothing” and ignore everything about the situation until you can no longer eat because of the pain from whatever is causing the swelling? Generally speaking, a better approach would be to learn a little about what might be the cause of those swollen areas on your gums so that you can make a more reasoned response.   

Here in the U.S., most people will experience some form of gum disease, also called periodontal disease, during their lifetimes. In fact, a full 75% will have either gingivitis, the less severe type, or periodontitis, which is much more significant. With gingivitis, the bacteria found in plaque has built up, resulting in inflammation of the gums. There may be bleeding, especially while brushing teeth, and soreness in the gums, but this stage does not include structural damage and loosening of teeth. Full-blown periodontitis does affect the structure of the tissue and bones surrounding the teeth, as pockets of infection result in the gums and bones separating from the teeth. This type of gum disease is the primary reason for adult tooth loss.

While the presence of gingivitis does not mean that an individual will end up with periodontitis, that is exactly what may happen if not properly treated. This makes it important to not only recognize the symptoms of gum disease, but also be aware of the causes so that they may be avoided.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The symptoms of gum disease, especially in the initial stages, may be quite mild. Rather than relying on the presence of pain or obvious signs, it is wise to pay attention to any change that seems out of the ordinary. Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Bleeding associated with tooth brushing
  • Swelling, tenderness or redness in the gums
  • Bad breath that will not go away
  • Bad taste in the mouth that lingers and not associated with a particular food
  • Receding gums
  • Pockets forming around teeth or along gums, may or may not be painful
  • Permanent teeth that appear loose
  • Changes in bite pattern or the way teeth seem to fit together

Causes of Gum Disease

  • Plaque – sticky film that forms on teeth due to interaction with bacteria and foods, especially sugars and starches. Poor oral hygiene practices can lead to the build up of plague and contribute to the severity of the resulting gum disease.
  • Hormonal changes – pregnancy, puberty, menopause and other types of hormonal fluctuations.
  • Illnesses – diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cancer, HIV and other immune system related conditions.
  • Drugs and medications
  • Smoking – smoking and other types of tobacco usage.
  • Genetics – family history can play a role in the development of gum disease.

Gum disease is a serious issue. If symptoms or changes do not go away in a few days, it is important to consult with your dentist or a periodontist so that what may only be a mild infection can be treated before it develops into structural damage and tooth loss. And, because there may not be obvious symptoms, this is another reason why those regular check-ups are so necessary.

If you are experiencing any issues with swollen gums or have questions about any of our services, whether dentistry or aesthetics, Forest Hills Dentistry is dedicated to delivering the highest quality services possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Forest Hills, Queens. Patient comfort, individualized care and complete satisfaction are our priority.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to use our online form by clicking here.

Categories: Dental Health