Ask a Dentist

August 3, 2023

Q: What Causes Swollen Gums With Braces And Aligners?

Person showing their braces

Braces and aligners are common treatments that help correct misaligned teeth and improve oral health. While they can create a straighter smile, some patients may experience swollen gums during their orthodontic journey. Swollen gums can be uncomfortable and concerning, but understanding the causes behind this condition and implementing proper oral care practices can help manage and prevent this condition.

What Causes Swollen Gums With Orthodontics

Swollen gums can be attributed to various factors. Let's explore the causes:

  • Teeth movement: Orthodontics apply steady, constant pressure that causes changes in the jawbone and gums, leading to soreness and swelling. After adjustments, the gums may feel sensitive, but this usually subsides over time, especially after the braces are removed or the aligners have reached the end of their cycle.
  • Gum disease: Braces create small spaces around the teeth, making it easier for food particles and plaque to get trapped. Without proper removal, these deposits can lead to gum disease. If the teeth aren’t cleaned properly before putting on the aligners, food particles get trapped against the teeth and gums. The first stage, gingivitis, manifests as red, swollen gums that may bleed easily.
  • Pregnancy gingivitis: Pregnant women may experience hormonal changes that can lead to pregnancy gingivitis. While orthodontic treatment during pregnancy isn’t generally recommended, it's essential to discuss preventive measures with a professional if necessary.
  • Gingival enlargement: Swollen gums might indicate a gingival enlargement, characterized by abnormal overgrowth of gum tissues. While hereditary or medicinal factors often trigger it, braces can create an environment where plaque accumulates more easily, potentially contributing to this condition.

How To Prevent Swollen Gums With Your Orthodontics

If you notice signs of swollen gums, it’s important to take action to alleviate the discomfort and promote healing. The first step is to contact your orthodontist or dentist to seek professional treatment and guidance. They may recommend gargling with salt water for quick relief and provide instructions on the best home care approach. Improving your oral hygiene is crucial, as food particles can easily get trapped in braces or aligners if they’re not cleaned properly. Here are some tips to enhance your oral hygiene routine:

  • Floss daily: Make sure to floss daily to clean all the surfaces of your teeth. For braces, Use waxed floss or an orthodontic floss threader to navigate around the brackets and wires without damaging them.
  • Brush for at least two minutes: Ensure you brush all surfaces of your teeth, including around the brackets if you have braces, using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Rinse with water or mouthwash: After brushing, rinse your mouth with water or an antimicrobial mouthwash to further cleanse your teeth, gums and braces.
  • Curaprox Interdental Brushes: The clinical staff at Dental Image Garden City are able to measure your gums to find the right size of Curaprox Brush to help with your oral hygiene routine at home.  The Curaprox Brushes allow you to clean around the teeth and braces without the difficulty that floss may pose.  The Curaprox brushes are easy to use, last many months, and are proven to decrease bleeding and inflammation.  We would be happy to help you find the right fit for you!

If you’re experiencing persistent or worsening symptoms of swollen gums with your orthodontics, we encourage you to visit us at Dental Image Therapy Centres. Our dental professionals are dedicated to providing exceptional care to ensure you complete your orthodontic journey with minimal pain and optimal oral health. With our specialized expertise, we can help relieve swollen gums and address any concerns related to your braces or aligners - we specialize in Invisalign and SureSmile. You can rest assured that you will receive personalized attention and tailored solutions for your unique needs at both our clinics located at Garden City Shopping Centre and St. Vital Centre. Don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with us and take the first step towards a healthier smile.

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