What Could Cause Gum Swelling?

Three young people smilingHealthy gums are pink, firm and tight around the teeth. However, gums can become swollen and puffy, and they may bleed easily. In most cases, swollen gums are due to irritation from bacteria, but other issues can also be to blame. Our Houston dentist can help you identify the underlying cause for gum swelling, and restore your gum health.

1. Gingivitis
This bacterial infection is one of the most common causes of swollen gums, and almost half of American adults have some degree of gingivitis. Better attention to dental hygiene and a professional cleaning might be all you need to get your red, swollen, bleeding gums under control if gingivitis is to blame.

2. Hormones
Female hormones trigger changes in your gums that make them more sensitive to bacteria. Women are more likely to have bleeding gums during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and perimenopause. Close attention to dental hygiene and regular dental checkups can help.

3. Medications
Blood thinners and some other medications can affect gum tissue making it more vulnerable to bacteria and prone to swelling.

Swollen gums need to be treated with care. You may need a professional cleaning to remove any buildup that could be irritating sensitive gum tissue. If your gums are tender or painful, an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be helpful. Call our dental office today to learn more about managing swollen gums or to schedule an appointment.

Common Dental Emergencies and How to Prepare for Them


Accidents tend to happen when you least expect them, so being prepared for the most common dental emergencies can ensure that you have the best chance of preserving your smile. Your first step is to assemble a dental first aid kit with over-the-counter pain medication, salt for salt water, clean gauze to stop bleeding, and a tooth preservation kit. You should also make sure that you have the phone number for our office so that you can call our San Francisco dentist in both your kit and your phone. Here are the steps you should take in these common emergency situations.

1.    Chipped or broken teeth
Teeth are strong, but they can be damaged when you bite down on something hard, experience a hit in the mouth, or fall. You cannot repair a chipped tooth at home, but you can rinse your mouth with salt water to relieve discomfort. Take over-the-counter pain medication if the tooth is painful. Call us right away to schedule an appointment. The tooth will need a filling or crown.

2.    Soft tissue injury
Biting your tongue, lip, or another part of your mouth hurts, but this is rarely a serious dental emergency. Use a cold compress to reduce swelling, and rinse your mouth if necessary. The bleeding should stop on its own, but if it does not, call us.

3.    A knocked-out tooth
This is an uncommon, but very serious dental injury. Pick the tooth up by the crown and carefully rinse it. If you can put it back in its socket, do so. Otherwise, put it in milk or a tooth preservation kit, and then get to our office as soon as possible. The tooth may be able to be saved, but if it cannot, we can restore your smile with a dental implant or similar option.

If you have a dental emergency in San Francisco, call our office right away to see our dentist and save your smile.

Dealing with Sensitive Teeth

Terrible tooth ache.

Your teeth may become sensitive to certain stimuli if the dentin, or inner portion of the teeth, becomes exposed. This can occur from receding gums or loss of part of the protective enamel covering your teeth. Many people suffer from sensitivity, but it can affect each individual differently. Temperatures, such as heat or cold, can lead to pain. Additionally, food and drinks that are sweet or sour may also affect those with sensitive teeth. You do not have to suffer with sensitivity or avoid the foods you love.

Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss daily. Use of a fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse may strengthen enamel. Toothpastes designed specifically for sensitive teeth may also help. You may want to reduce your intake of acidic beverages and foods, which can weaken enamel.

An expert in sensitive teeth in Los Angeles can help determine the cause of your sensitivity to deal with the problem at its source. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants can help to strengthen enamel. Exposed roots can be covered with dental bonding. Other issues can be addressed to keep your teeth healthy and strong while reducing potential sensitivity from occurring again.