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Gums - swollen

Definition

Swollen gums are abnormally enlarged, bulging, or protruding.

Alternative Names

Swollen gums; Gingival swelling

Considerations

Gum swelling is quite common and may involve one or many of the triangular-shaped bits of gum between nearby teeth. These sections are called papillae.

Occasionally, the gums swell significantly, blocking the teeth completely.

Common Causes

  • Gingivitis
  • Infection by a virus or fungus
  • Malnutrition
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Pregnancy
  • Sensitivity to toothpaste or mouthwash
  • Scurvy
  • Side effect of a drug such as Dilantin or phenobarbital

Home Care

Improve your nutrition if it is poor.

Avoid gum irritants such as commercial mouthwashes, alcohol, and tobacco. Change your toothpaste brand and avoid using mouthwashes if your swollen gums are caused by sensitivity to toothpaste or mouthwash.

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 doctor about using a different type of medication. Never change medications without first talking to your doctor.

What to expect at your health care provider's office

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

  • Quality
  • Time pattern
  • Oral hygiene habits
  • Eating habits
  • Other

Tests may include blood studies such as a CBC or blood differential .

The patient will be taught proper mouth and gum care.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.