Did you know that swollen, puffy gums often develop during orthodontic treatment? Braces bring about a lot of changes, but many people don’t know about this one! Sometimes the swelling is temporary or related to oral hygiene, but sometimes it isn’t. Unhealthy gums could slow down your orthodontic treatment and put your health at risk. If you plan on straightening your smile soon, here’s what you need to know about swollen gums with braces.
Causes for Swollen Gums with Braces
There are several reasons why you may experience swollen gums during orthodontic treatment, such as:
- Teeth Movement: Shifting teeth into their desired position naturally may cause slight inflammation in the gums.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Plaque and bacteria accumulation can cause a gum infection, which leads to swelling.
- Underlying Health Conditions: Patients with certain health conditions like diabetes and obesity are more prone to swelling gums, especially while wearing braces.
- Gingival hyperplasia: In rare cases, gum irritation from braces can cause an overgrowth of gum tissue around the teeth.
Why Your Gum Health Is Important
You may not want to visit a dentist if your swollen gums don’t bother you too much. However, treating swollen gums is very important for your overall health and the success of your orthodontic treatment. Inflamed gums can easily lead to gum disease, which, if allowed to progress, can attack your jawbone and destroy the connective tissues that help hold your teeth in place. Gum disease has also been linked with serious health problems like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.
How to Treat Swollen Gums With Braces
If your gums are inflamed and feeling tender, try these at-home treatment tips:
- Rinse with warm salt water several times a day
- Avoid eating tough, sticky, and chewy foods
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication as directed
- Practice excellent oral hygiene by brushing twice a day for a full two minutes each time
- Use mouthwash and floss daily to ensure proper and thorough cleaning
How an Orthodontist Can Help
If your swollen gums with braces don’t improve or if the swelling grows worse, don’t hesitate to call your orthodontist. A dental professional will be able to evaluate your mouth to determine the root cause of the swelling and create a treatment plan to boost your gum health.
If you have excessive gum growth after getting your braces removed, ask your orthodontist about gum recontouring. This cosmetic procedure uses a diode laser to remove excess gum tissue around teeth to make them look longer. If your gumline is uneven, your orthodontist can also sculpt it to achieve a more balanced, symmetrical smile.
About the Author
Dr. Alan Sasson has over 25 years of experience helping patients straighten their smiles with quality orthodontics. He is an active member of the International Association of Orthodontics and has held a faculty appointment at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. If you have more questions about swollen gums with braces, visit the Boston Smile Center website or call 617-739-1017.