Dental braces move and adjust teeth over time, treating crooked teeth or jaw misalignment.1 Orthodontic treatment like braces can lead to better oral health—correcting an abnormal bite could prevent oral health problems like tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, abnormal enamel wear, and jaw problems.1 While braces can help keep your mouth healthier, they can also cause temporary discomfort.2 Gum swelling with braces can be common, but it can also sometimes be a sign of a condition that requires further treatment, like gingivitis.2 If you experience swollen gums with braces, keep reading to find out what causes gum swelling and how to treat it.
Swollen Gums Causes
As your teeth slowly move, you may experience inflammation around your teeth. Constant, steady pressure from your braces causes your teeth to move and realign.2 When you get braces for the first time, you’ll likely experience some gum swelling or even pain.1,2 You may also experience soreness or swelling after your braces are adjusted.1,2 Regularly brushing and flossing can help reduce discomfort caused by sore gums.2
Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, can causes swollen and tender gums.3 Poor dental care and crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean can put you at a higher risk of developing gingivitis.3 As your braces move your teeth, small spaces temporarily open up. Food and plaque become trapped in these spaces, causing bacteria to grow and inducing inflammation.3 Gum disease that progresses beyond gingivitis can eventually lead to the deterioration of bone tissue around your teeth, causing irreversible damage.4 Maintain good oral hygiene while you have braces by brushing and flossing regularly.4 Consult your dentist if you experience gingivitis-related gum swelling with your braces. Swollen gums caused by gingivitis need to be treated properly to avoid further damage.4
How to Get Rid of Swollen Gums with Braces
Although some swelling and discomfort can be normal when you have braces, there are steps you can take to treat swollen gums and ease your discomfort. Contact your dental professional about which treatment is right for you.
Swollen Gums Treatment
Depending on the cause of your swollen gums, you may need treatment from your dentist.2 If you experience swollen gums with braces, consult your dentist or orthodontist immediately. For swollen gums caused by gingivitis, good at-home dental hygiene can be supplemented with regular cleanings at your dentist.3 If your swollen gums feel very painful or appear to be growing over your teeth, you need more serious treatment and should contact your dental professional immediately.5
Home Remedies for Swollen Gums
If your gums feel painful or swollen when you have braces, consult your dental professional for advice. You can ease your symptoms at home with these simple remedies.1,2
- Rinse several times daily with warm salt water.
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and pain.
- Avoid eating hard foods, foods that are difficult to chew, and foods that can easily be trapped in your braces.
- Floss between your teeth often with unwaxed floss to reduce inflammation.
When to See a Dentist for Swollen Gums
When you first get your braces, you may have sore gums for up to a week. You may also feel discomfort for about one to three days each time your braces are tightened. If your gums are swollen, you should consult your dentist or orthodontist. If your gums bleed from your braces cutting into them, tell your dentist as they may be able to adjust them.
How to Care for Your Gums While Wearing Braces
When you have braces, you may not be able to avoid some gum swelling, but good dental habits reduce your chances of severe swelling and more serious issues like gingivitis or gum disease.2,3 To care for your gums, follow these maintenance tips.2
- Use toothpaste with active ingredients such as fluoride or tartar control agents to help remove plaque and prevent gingivitis.
- Brush your teeth with a toothbrush with a soft brush head. Your dental professional may recommend a specialized toothbrush like interdental brushes.
- Try a fluoride or antiplaque mouthwash like the parodontax Active Gum Health Mint Mouthwash.
- Floss every day using an orthodontic floss threader to clean under the braces, between your teeth, and under your gumline.
While gum swelling with braces can be normal, swelling and discomfort that persists for a long period of time may indicate a more significant problem. When in doubt, talk to your dentist or orthodontist about any discomfort or gum swelling you experience with braces. To learn about maintaining healthy gums, explore more articles from parodontax.