Swollen gums, or gingival swelling, are gums that are inflamed, enlarged, or protruding. Gums become irritated when plaque and tartar build up on the surface of the teeth under the gum, allowing bacteria to thrive and produce chemicals and toxins that the body rejects. White blood cells accumulate in the area, increasing fluid, which results in enlarged gums. If left untreated, the swelling in the gums can lead to periodontal disease, or advanced gum disease, which can cause tooth loss.
There are many causes of inflamed gums, including pregnancy, infection from a virus, gingivitis, malnutrition, sensitivity to any products used in the mouth, side effects from oral medication, dentures that do not fit correctly and even a deficiency in vitamin C. However, the most common cause for swelling is a buildup of bacteria. Bacteria are always present in the mouth, but they can build up quickly and form plaque and tartar, which can lead to gum disease, even when the patient is following a strict oral hygiene routine.
The signs of swollen gums around tooth can indicate how far gum disease has developed. Inflamed gums are the first sign, but this can quickly progress to receding and tender gums. Other signs include a bad taste that persists in the mouth, halitosis, or chronic bad breath, spaces opening up between the teeth, mouth sores, thrush, and bright red or purple gums. Advanced gum disease will manifest in pyorrhea, which is pus between the tooth and gum line and loose teeth. Untreated swelling can even change the way the teeth fit together when they close to bite.
Treating swelling in the gums is simple. The basic treatment includes developing and adhering to a strict oral hygiene routine to eliminate bacteria and prevent additional development of plaque and tartar. It can also include avoiding sugary foods that cause bacteria build-up. Some patients might need to change their oral hygiene products, since those can be the culprits, and choose all-natural products instead. Following routine standard dental cleaning schedules can also help.
If inflammation in the gums is treated early on, the cost of is inexpensive. However, if it is ignored and more serious conditions develop, the costs can add up. An appointment to identify the problem might be necessary, costing up to $400, including X-rays. A deep dental cleaning might be warranted and this will cost from $100 to $400 each quadrant, or up to $1600. Treatment of truly advanced gum disease might include surgery or bone or tissue grafts, which can all run upwards of $1000.