If our gums could only talk, things might be more straightforward and safer.
They could tell us about food debris wedged in them or unwanted bacteria buildup.
But since they can’t talk, they have to communicate with us in other ways, including gum pain.
Pain anywhere in the body is a hint that something isn’t right, and painful gums are no exception to this.
Gum pain (or swelling or bleeding) is a health alarm bell.
If you do feel pain in your gums, it is time to visit your Forster Dental Centre dentist to determine the cause of the pain and what can be done to eliminate it.
Let’s take a look at the causes of gum pain and what you can do about it.
Why do I have gum pain?
Gingivitis. Many things can cause gum pain, but the number one suspect is gingivitis, which occurs when plaque builds up around your teeth, leading to an infection in your gums.
Gingivitis is usually caused by inadequate oral hygiene at home, and it can be treated at Forster Dental Centre.
Here are a few other potential causes of gum pain.
Canker sores. These usually present as painful red splotches in the mouth, but they can also have a white coating.
Typically, these go away by themselves in less than two weeks. If they persist, see us at Forster Dental Centre.
Tobacco use. Use of any tobacco product increases the chances of gum disease and pain.
Smokeless tobacco placed between the cheek and gums is particularly dangerous as it can cause sores in your mouth and even lead to oral cancer.
Hormonal fluctuation. Hormones can affect women’s gums at different times in their life.
During puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or periods, hormonal levels fluctuate, and this can affect your gums.
Abscessed teeth. When a tooth root is infected, it develops a pocket of pus or an abscess. Abscesses don’t always hurt, but often do.
Some abscessed teeth lead to gum swelling. If your gums hurt or swell, see your dentist. You may need a root canal.
Poor oral hygiene practices. Brushing or flossing too vigorously or frequently can sometimes cause the gums to bleed and be painful.
The same is true of violent flossing, and sometimes a too-hard toothbrush can be the cause of gum pain.
Temporary (at home) solutions
Compress: Both hot and cold compresses can reduce pain.
Hot compress: warm water to a comfortable, warm temperature. Moisten a clean cloth in the water; squeeze out any excess and gently press the fabric to your face near the area of the pain. Do not apply the compress directly on the gums.
Cold compress: wrap ice or crushed ice in a clean cloth (consider putting it in a sealed bag first) and apply using the method described above.
Saltwater rinse. Heat a cup of water to just over lukewarm and pour it into a cool glass. Add a teaspoon of salt and mix well.
Check the water temperature with your finger; to be sure the water is not too hot. Swish the saltwater rinse around in your mouth, and then spit it out (don’t swallow it). Rinse at least twice daily until the swelling is reduced.
Teabags. Steep a fresh bag of tea in boiling water for up to five minutes, as you normally would while making tea.
When the tea bag is cool enough to touch, apply it directly between the cheek and painful gums for at least five minutes.
Anaesthetic gels. Medicated gels can be purchased over the counter. They contain natural and synthetic ingredients to numb pain.
Over-the-counter painkillers. Simple OTC painkillers and NSAID’s, including aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen can help while you arrange a visit to Forster Dental Centre.
These can be used alone or in concert with the other at-home approaches discussed above.
If you are suffering gum pain, of course, the remedies listed above are only temporary measures taken until you can receive professional assistance.
Professional dental treatments
Dental treatments for gum pain include the following.
- Regular dental visits: Regular dental visits help prevent plaque buildup, gingivitis, and dental infections that can cause gum pain.
- Antibiotics: If infection or abscess is present, a dentist may prescribe antibiotics.
- Drainage or tissue removal: Infections may call for the need to drain the infection with a needle or removal of infected tissue.
- Tooth removal: Infected teeth may need to be removed.
- Scaling and cleaning to remove plaque.
Your Local Dentist – Forster Dental Centre
At Forster Dental Centre, we provide each patient with the care that gives them healthy teeth and a beautiful smile for life!
We offer an extensive range of dental services, including preventative dentistry, restorative dental options, and the latest in cosmetic dentistry solutions for straighter and whiter teeth.
We pride ourselves on listening to the needs and concerns of all our patients and aim to provide you with the personalised attention you and your family deserves.
Same day dental emergency appointment available!
We are located at 1st Floor Forster Tower, 12 Wallis St in Forster.