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 that’s not always the case. 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 according to an orthodontist in Palm Harbor 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 too much 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. Alex Johnson earned his dental doctorate from Washington University and stayed to attain his orthodontic certificate as well. He is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists and has completed continuing education courses at the prestigious Pankey Institute. If you are interested in traditional braces, know that they are a time-tested option to provide reliable smith results with the help of Dr. Johnson and his knowledgeable staff. Schedule a consultation on his website or call (727) 786-7550.