If you have braces and you notice your gums are puffy or swollen, it’s worth getting it checked out. However, not all swollen gums are a sign that something is wrong. Many orthodontic patients experience minor gum issues that end up being nothing to worry about. But for others, braces are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and the build-up of plaque. If dental hygiene is lacking, it can lead to gum problems.
The placement of braces normally make it more difficult to clean the teeth.This often results in an increase in the number of bacteria around braces that can cause changes in the gingivae (gums). Swollen gums should not be ignored as it may be a sign of gum (periodontal) disease where bacteria infect the soft tissue leading to gingivitis (infection of the edges of the gum) and the more serious progression towards periodontitis (infection deeper into the gum towards the surrounding bone). The gum infection can cause long-term damage to the soft tissue and, if not treated, can destroy the bone that surrounds your teeth. Once this bone is destroyed, it can’t provide adequate support for your teeth, causing them to become loose and even fall out.
You may notice your gums look red and swollen. Bleeding during brushing and flossing is another sign of periodontal disease. In this early stage of the disease, you may experience some bone loss, but it’s possible to seek treatment and stop further damage to the gum and bone.
What to Do if You Notice Swelling in Your Gums
If you notice your gums have become swollen or puffy during orthodontic treatment, it’s important to call your orthodontist without delay and make an appointment to have it checked out. It’s common for people who wear braces to suffer from gum inflammation because they make it harder to maintain good oral hygiene.
Your orthodontist will carefully check your gums and tell you if you need to make any changes to your oral hygiene or seek further treatment. Your gum inflammation is likely to be a mild case of gingivitis which is highly treatable.
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