La Habra/Chino Hills, CA – Getting your mouth used to braces can take a bit of time. Having metal pieces in your mouth 24 hours a day can sometimes cause a bit of irritation, especially in the first days and weeks. But if you notice your gums seem swollen, is that cause for concern?
Dr. Gire treats patients of all ages and explains that the relationship between swollen gums and braces is often due to poor dental hygiene.
“In some cases, swollen gums can be an indication that something could be wrong,” says Dr. Robert Gire of Gire Orthodontics in Chino Hills CA. “In most cases, however, this swelling is minor and will go away as you learn to care for your smile properly while in braces.”
Swollen Gums Caused By Poor Hygiene
By their nature, fixed braces make it more difficult to properly clean the teeth. The brackets adhere directly to the surface of the teeth and the wires create an additional barrier for your toothbrush. Not taking proper care of your teeth can lead to gingivitis. This can cause swollen gums that may be red and can bleed easily.
If your swollen gums are the cause of gingivitis, the best course of action is to learn proper brushing and flossing techniques. Water flossers and proxy brushes can be a huge help because they can ensure food particles and plaque can be washed away before they can irritate the gums.
Swollen Gums Caused By Braces Itself
Swollen gums can also be a bi-product of the movement that is occurring in your mouth because of the braces. As your teeth move, the soft tissue may get moved around and pushed together. This may make your gums appear to be swollen. In this instance, there won’t be redness, tenderness, or bleeding accompanying the swollen appearance.
The proper way to handle this type of swollen gums is also proper brushing and flossing. This excess tissue may be more susceptible to plaque. As your body gets used to the braces, the tissue will balance back out.
Gingivitis-like Symptoms Caused by Hormones and Puberty
Hormones and puberty can also cause gingivitis-like symptoms. Pregnant patients may experience symptoms similar to gingivitis. Shifts in hormone levels can make the gums tender and give them the appearance of being swollen. This is temporary and as long as you take proper care of your smile, symptoms will subside as hormones balance out.
Gingival Hyperplasia and Braces
Gingival hyperplasia is a condition that causes an overgrowth of tissue. If you have the condition and wear braces it can look like you have swollen gums that surround your brackets. In most cases, this is the result of certain medications. This is one reason why your orthodontist asks for a complete medical history.
Swollen Gums Could Be Caused By Allergic Reaction to Braces
In rare cases, swollen gums could be the cause of an allergic reaction or hypersensitivity to the materials used in your braces. This is incredibly rare, even in people who have metal allergies. If you’re experiencing this, your gums may be puffy and could even itch. Your metal braces will need to be replaced with a different type of material.
“If you are experiencing gums that appear to be swollen, or if you are having any other symptoms such as bleeding or redness, discuss these concerns with your orthodontic team,” says Dr. Gire. “We are here to help you every step of the way and we want to ensure your experience is a positive one. If you ever have questions or concerns about your smile, call our office.”
The best way to prevent swollen gums is by brushing and flossing regularly. For most patients, proper dental hygiene will be sufficient to ease their gum problems. But, always be sure you mention any concerns to your orthodontic team. It’s also important to maintain your regular checkups with your dentist so any issues can be addressed before they may impact your treatment.