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Dr. George McKee
Dr. George McKee, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 1396
Experience:  Licensed dentist with 30 years clinical experience in general practice and cosmetic reconstruction.
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My gums are swollen and painful. How do I get rid of this?

Customer Question

My gums are swollen and they hurt... This just started a couple of days ago. This is really painful. I am loosing sleep...

I have tried hot salt water, antiseptic mouthwash and I am taking ibuprofen for the pain....

How can I stop this pain and swelling?

Please help!!!! Help me get the swelling down please...

Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for your question and welcome to JustAnswer.

Swollen painful gums are classic symptoms of periodontal disease (gum disease) which is a chronic, low grade infection of the gums surrounding the teeth. It is caused by bacterial plaque which lives in your mouth and attaches to the surface of the teeth both above and below the gum. If enough plaque accumulates under the gum, and remains for enough time, an infection will start. This infection starts in the small spaces between your teeth and gums. The gums react to this process by swelling up and loosening their grip around the individual teeth. This loosening opens up deeper spaces between the gum and tooth allowing for more debris, plaque and food to work their way into the deeper spaces. As the disease progresses, it slowly dissolves the bone around your teeth and, as it shrinks away, the gums can follow and your teeth can become loose. Many times, the patient is unaware of this disease because there is no pain involved until it gets to the advanced stage. Other symptoms of periodontal disease are bleeding gums (when brushing, or spontaneously), loosening of the teeth, bad breath and receding gums. Many times, by the time an individual notices these symptoms, the disease has been active for quite some time, even years. Periodontal disease can be treated and many of the symptoms can be reversed.

You need to go to a dentist that specializes in this disease, namely a Periodontist. He will diagnosis the severity of your condition and recommend treatment.

Most of the time this disease can be treated with a thorough dental cleaning and root debridement.

Once the plaque, infection and inflammatory toxins are removed from between your teeth and gums, the bad breath should go away, your gums will tighten back up and the bleeding should stop. Keep in mind that periodontal disease can not be cured; only treated. After the initial treatment from the Periodontist, you will need to return a few times a year to him/her or to your regular dentist for regular dental cleanings. This will keep the disease at bay and prevent it from escalating to the degree that causes bone loss and further gum shrinkage. I hope you find this information helpful.


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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

What can I do for the pain now?

Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 7 years ago.

Go to the pharmacy and get any mouthwash that has chlorohexidine in it. There are various brand names, one of which is Peridex. This contains an antiseptic that actively kills the bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontitis. In addition, toothache drops, which is just clove oil, should be available as well. Place some on a cotton pellet and swab over the painful gums. This is very soothing.

A very good way to control dental pain using over the counter medications is to switch between taking 400 milligrams of ibuprofen (e.g., 2 tablets of Advil), and 1000 milligrams of acetaminophen (e.g., 2 tablets of extra-strength Tylenol) every 3 hours. Be careful not to use these medications if you have had previous adverse reactions to either, or if you have had gastritis or peptic ulcer disease in the past, or if you have liver disease.

I hope this helps.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

thank you

Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 7 years ago.

You are most welcome. I wish you well.

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