An important part of your oral health, swollen gums can make life miserable. Sensitive and painful, they are prone to bleeding when you are brushing or flossing, creating even more problems. Caused most often by such things as gingivitis, malnutrition, infections caused by such problems as tooth decay or herpes, and even pregnancy, it is crucial you address the problem as soon as possible. As for the most common ways swollen gums are treated, there are various medical and home treatment options.
Diagnosing the Problem
If your gums remain swollen for at least two weeks, see your dentist. Along with taking dental x-rays and asking you various health-related questions, your dentist may also order blood tests to determine if you have an infection. If you are pregnant or have had recent dietary changes, be sure to mention this during your visit.
If your swollen gums present a serious problem, certain medical treatments may be necessary. While it may be as simple as your dentist prescribing oral rinses and special types of toothpaste, you may also need antibiotics if an infection is present. Should your condition be severe due to gingivitis, surgical procedures such as scaling and root planing may be needed. When this is done, your dentist will scrape away tartar, plaque, and diseased gum tissue from the roots of your teeth, thus letting the remaining healthy gums begin to heal.
If you have a milder case of swollen gums or have to wait a few days to see your dentist, there are numerous home treatments you can use that are helpful. To begin with, avoid irritants such as alcohol, tobacco, and strong mouthwashes. For many people, rinsing their mouths with a saltwater solution brings relief, while at the same time ridding their mouths of bacteria. Also, you may want to place a warm compress on your face, since this will ease the pain. If you need to decrease swelling, try a cold compress. Finally, drinking plenty of water can stimulate saliva production and reduce bacteria, while brushing and flossing gently can also help.
Since your gums are so important to your oral and overall health, contact your dentist as soon as possible should you have concerns about how to proceed.