Swollen Gums & Braces: 5 Tips For Relief

Orthodontic treatment can do more than just straighten teeth. It can turn a shy grin into a radiant smile and make you feel like a million bucks! That’s why taking care of your teeth and seeking the necessary dental treatments is so important to your health and self-esteem.

Unfortunately, getting the smile you’ve always dreamed about can be a little tough sometimes. Especially if you have to get orthodontic appliances. You or your child may suddenly experience swollen gums with orthodontic treatments like braces. It’s part of the territory of wearing braces.

As your teeth move, the soft tissue of your gums has to adjust as well. The resulting soreness and swelling are common when you first get braces. The mouth needs time to get used to the new hardware.

Swollen Gums and Braces

5 tips for swollen gum relief

Tips to relieve some gum swelling and pain:

  • Change your diet. Try eating softer foods and drinking more liquids.
  • Be gentle yet diligent when you floss and brush routinely. Take your time to do it right and not hurt your teeth or gums.
  • Gargle with warm saltwater to help heal inflamed gums.
  • Massaging the gums can help. Some recommend using a soft toothbrush to gently rub the gums and mouth.
  • Break those bad habits – avoid biting your nails and chewing on hard objects like pens or pencils.
Related: How to Remedy a Toothache

Quick Fixes to Relieve Gum Swelling Overnight

While the above tips are good as a standard regimen of swollen gum care, sometimes you need something that works fast.

  • Take an over-the-counter inflammatory medication such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs to relieve swelling and pain.
  • Don’t eat anything sticky or hard to chew that can put stress on your gums.
  • Avoid spicy foods that can irritate your gums.
  • Rinse with warm Epsom salt water.
  • Use a waterpik and fill the reservoir with ice water.
  • Use a floss threader to floss around your gums and keep them clean.

Why Are My Gums Swollen With Braces?

Puffy gums with braces are usually related to inflammation. But in some cases, long-lasting gum swelling can mean something more than just a bit of irritation from orthodontic treatment.

Known as gingival enlargement, hypertrophy, or hyperplasia, swollen gums with braces can be a result of an increase in gum cells being produced in the mouth. This condition usually occurs due to medicine or is inherited. Braces may also be the trigger that causes the gum overgrowth reaction.

Gum Overgrowth From Braces

Depending on your gums and where your braces are placed, your braces might cause gum overgrowth.

How Can I Reverse Gum Overgrowth?

Gingival hyperplasia is thankfully reversible. Simply by taking better care of your teeth, your gum’s overgrowth will subside. However, it usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks of consistent, regular, and improved oral health habits to see results. This looks like using proper brushing and flossing techniques, using mouthwash, using toothpaste that includes fluoride, and using a soft-bristle toothbrush.

Why Do Braces Cause Gum Overgrowth?

The simple answer is that when you have braces, you are more likely to develop gum overgrowth because of the way that braces rubbing against your gums. This can cause the gums to become irritated and inflamed, which leads to an increase in the gum tissue.

If you are concerned about swollen gums with braces, make sure to talk to your orthodontist or dentist right away. They will be able to help you figure out the best course of action to take to get your smile back on track!

Swollen gums with braces are a common occurrence, but it doesn’t have to be a long-term problem.

Your Gums Have Grown Over Your Braces

If you have braces, it is possible for your gums to grow over them. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as the placement of the braces, hygiene practices, or if you have gum disease. In most cases, this is not a serious problem and can be easily fixed by your orthodontist.

If this happens and the gums don’t recede after braces, you can request a procedure called crown lengthening. This involves your orthodontist trimming away the excess gum tissue so that your teeth are properly exposed.

Crown lengthening is a simple, outpatient procedure that can be done in your orthodontist’s office. The recovery is usually quick and painless, and you will see a significant difference in the appearance of your smile.

How to Properly Clean Your Teeth With Braces

Because braces traditionally consist of brackets, rubber bands, and wires, it can be difficult to fully and properly clean all the built-up food and gunk from around your oral hardware. That’s why we provide An Orthodontic Cleaning Guide: For Parents Who Aren’t Dentists.

As the plaque builds up, gums can become more and more irritated. Then, gingivitis can occur. While it is extremely important to always take good care of your teeth and gums, it’s especially important to have extra good oral hygiene if you have braces.

Can Pregnancy Affect Gum Health?

Hormones can easily affect the gums as well. Boys and girls going through puberty, and pregnant women, are generally the hormone + swollen gum target. These hormonal spikes can even cause something called “pregnancy gingivitis.”

Generally, braces are not put on pregnant women, while kids undergoing puberty may, in fact, be experiencing braces and surging hormones…and so inflamed or irritated gums more so than would be normal with orthodontic treatment.

Can Swollen Gums Be A Sign of Problems Down the Road?

If you take care of your dental health now, then your gums should be just fine after you’re done with braces. But, sometimes, gums can be more prone to gum recession after braces. That being said, just because you or your child has braces, doesn’t mean your gums will start receding.

Age, brushing habits, flossing, and genetics all play a part in gum health and longevity.

So long as you do your part and take care of your smile now, that can prevent many problems, like gum recession, in the future.

Worried About Your Swollen Gums?

Need a routine check-up for your teeth or looking to chat with an orthodontist about treatment? Request an appointment with us easily online, or feel free to give us a call at any of our 5 Middle TN pediatric dentistry locations.

If you are dealing with swollen gums with braces, we can help you to determine whether or not the cause is simply rough brushing or gingivitis. As adults, we know the impact that your smile has on your self-esteem and the way that others view you.

Don’t be shy! Bring the whole family to visit us at Snodgrass-King Dental Associates where we help you have healthy smiles for life.