Locations Main Campus: Chesterfield, MO 63017   |   Locations
314-434-1500 314-434-1500   |   Contact Us

Multimedia Encyclopedia


 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Gums - swollen

Swollen gums; Gingival swelling

 

Swollen gums are abnormally enlarged, bulging, or protruding.

Considerations

 

Gum swelling is common. It may involve one or many of the triangle-shaped areas of gum between teeth. These sections are called papillae.

Occasionally, the gums swell enough to block the teeth completely.

 

Causes

 

Swollen gums may be caused by:

  • Inflamed gums (gingivitis)
  • Infection by a virus or fungus
  • Malnutrition
  • Poorly fitting dentures or other dental appliances
  • Pregnancy
  • Sensitivity to toothpaste or mouthwash
  • Scurvy
  • Side effect of a medicine

 

Home Care

 

Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugary foods and drinks.

Avoid things that can irritate your gums such as mouthwashes, alcohol, and tobacco. Change your toothpaste brand and stop using mouthwashes if sensitivity to these dental products is causing your swollen gums.

Brush and floss your teeth regularly. See a periodontist or dentist at least every 6 months.

If your swollen gums are caused by a reaction to a drug, talk to your health care provider about changing the type of medicine you use. Never stop taking a medicine without first talking to your provider.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Call your provider if changes to your gums last longer than 2 weeks.

 

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

 

Your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth, and gums. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:

  • Do your gums bleed?
  • How long has the problem been going on, and has it changed over time?
  • How often do you brush your teeth and what kind of toothbrush do you use?
  • Do you use any other oral care products?
  • When was the last time you had a professional cleaning?
  • Have there been any changes to your diet? Do you take vitamins?
  • What medicines do you take?
  • Have you changed your oral home care recently, such as type of toothpaste or mouthwash you use?
  • Do you have any other symptoms such as breath odor, sore throat, or pain?

You may have blood tests such as such as a CBC (complete blood count) or blood differential.

Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to care for your teeth and gums.

 

 

References

Amsterdam JT. Oral medicine. In Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 70.

Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Ear, nose, and throat. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 8th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2015:chap 12.

Chow AW. Infections of the oral cavity, neck, and head. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 65.

 
  • Tooth anatomy

    Tooth anatomy - illustration

    The structure of the tooth includes dentin, pulp and other tissues, blood vessels and nerves imbedded in the bony jaw. Above the gum line, the tooth is protected by the hard enamel covering.

    Tooth anatomy

    illustration

  • Swollen gums

    Swollen gums - illustration

    Abnormally enlarged, bulging, protruding, or swollen gums are a possible indication of disease.

    Swollen gums

    illustration

    • Tooth anatomy

      Tooth anatomy - illustration

      The structure of the tooth includes dentin, pulp and other tissues, blood vessels and nerves imbedded in the bony jaw. Above the gum line, the tooth is protected by the hard enamel covering.

      Tooth anatomy

      illustration

    • Swollen gums

      Swollen gums - illustration

      Abnormally enlarged, bulging, protruding, or swollen gums are a possible indication of disease.

      Swollen gums

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Talking to your MD

       

        Self Care

         

          Tests for Gums - swollen

           

             

            Review Date: 2/22/2016

            Reviewed By: Michael Kapner, DDS, general and aesthetic dentistry, Norwalk Medical Center, Norwalk, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

             
             
             

             

             

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.



            Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.