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Why Do Gums Swell While Wearing Braces?

September 21, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drsimon @ 9:08 pm
girl with swollen gums and braces

Swollen gums with braces can be a bothersome reality for many undergoing orthodontic treatments. No matter the reason or cause of the problem, the pain and soreness that often comes with it is something most patients prefer to avoid or eliminate altogether. But is it possible? How does it happen in the first place? An orthodontist is here to explain the reasons why gums can swell and what can be done once the braces come off.

Reasons for Swollen Gums

Wearing braces can cause a myriad of reactions and feelings. From excitement about the idea of a newer, straighter smile, to the soreness that orthodontic treatment can cause as teeth begin to shift. But one component you may be unprepared for is that your gums can swell. Believe it or not, this is quite common and can be attributed to the newness of braces or when they need an adjustment. However, there are other potential reasons this condition can develop, such as:

  • Gingivitis – This is an early stage of gum disease that forms as a result of poor oral hygiene and the accumulation of plaque that adheres to teeth and braces.
  • Obesity or diabetes – These health conditions are commonly linked to inflamed gum tissue.
  • Excess gum tissue – If you have a “gummy smile” because of an overgrowth of gum tissue around your teeth, it is likely they will begin to swell when you begin wearing braces.

Ways to Treat Swollen Gums

Both dentists and orthodontists typically recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to help reduce inflammation and discomfort, but there are other helpful methods you can use to eliminate the pain and improve your current situation. These include:

  • Rinsing with warm salt water several times each day to encourage healing and reduce swelling
  • Eating soft foods to avoid placing additional pressure on sore teeth and gums
  • Cleaning between your teeth with dental floss or a water irrigator to minimize inflammation that can cause swelling and periodontal disease (gum disease)

If the cause of your swollen gums is not the result of poor oral hygiene or health conditions but instead, excess gum tissue, you may be required to undergo a procedure that involves removing the overgrown soft oral tissues. Commonly known as gum recontouring, this process can be helpful in not only minimizing inflammation and the risk of gum disease but also improving your gumline to look more balanced.

It’s not always easy to prevent swollen gums when wearing braces, but if you begin to notice a problem and need help to remedy it, don’t be afraid to ask your orthodontist. After further discussion, they will work to identify a solution that is right for you.

About the Author
Dr. Patricia Simon is an orthodontist in Dallas who earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. After finishing her Orthodontic Residency at Boston University, she completed a fellowship in Craniofacial and Dentofacial Abnormalities at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. With more than 25 years of experience in the field of orthodontics, she has also spent time as a full-time faculty member at UT Southwestern Medical Center in the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. If you are interested in straightening your smile, visit our website or call (214) 826-9000.

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