Ask the Dentist – My Gums Hurt

 

Okay, okay…I’ve slacked off a bit with our Ask the Dentist feature at Family Dental Care Park Ridge.  And because of that, our inbox is filled with great questions.  So, I printed all of the questions out and with my eyes tightly closed, I reached into the pile and pulled out THIS one:

“My gums hurt.  They just seem to be sensitive all of the time.  Am I doing something wrong?  What can I do to make them feel better?”

I was beginning to wonder when someone would ask this question because in over 20 years of doing dentistry, this is probably one of the most frequently asked questions… “Why do my gums hurt?”

So, here’s the thing…if you experience a change in your “norm” and something (anything) begins to hurt that never hurt before and it’s not going away, my advise to you is to check it out.  This goes for medical as well as dental issues.  That said, let’s explore why your gums may hurt.

Our oral cavity  (mouth) is made up of an intricate relationship between hard and soft tissue and this relationship is interdependent.  Our teeth are supported by our jaw bone but are “protected” by a gentler ligament that surrounds each root to soften the impact between tooth root and bone.  This entire package is then surrounded by a softer tissue that we refer to as the gums.  The gums provide a sort of biological barrier between the tooth and the bone.  This biological barrier is constantly bombarded by the bacteria in our mouth but, if we practice proper oral hygiene, we can usually keep the gums healthy enough so that they can do their job in protecting the support system for our teeth.  SO…often, if we are not “keeping up” with the bacteria removal in our mouths by correct brushing and flossing, the gums get inflamed.  When the gums are inflamed,a very common symptom is for the gums to hurt.  Just like a fever is a symptom of something bigger going on in our bodies, so is pain in our gums often a symptom that something bigger is going on.  The good news is that, usually, with improved oral hygiene (good brushing and flossing) the gums can respond quickly and happily so that the discomfort goes away.  Sometimes, if the bacteria that is causing the gums to be inflamed has really had a chance to set up housekeeping, you may need to include some warm salt water rinses (one tablespoon of salt in a drinking glass of warm water to swish around in your mouth and then spit as often as necessary during the day) and periodic gum massages with your finger.

But

If your gums continue to hurt despite these measures, it is time to call the dentist and set up an appointment to see the hygienist or the dentist.  Gums that continue to hurt despite your efforts to resolve that, need to be checked out.  Sometimes the solution is as simple as switching out your toothpaste which, in some rare cases, can cause some gum sensitivity.  Sometimes you may have small irritations on your gums caused by viruses that are making your gums hurt.  The bottom line is this. If you have committed to excellent oral hygiene including flossing and brushing and you have tried warm salt water rinses and massaging your gums and you still have painful gums, it needs to be checked out so that the correct treatment can be started.  Most often, however, improving your oral hygiene works wonders on improving painful gum symptoms!

Thanks to all of you who have submitted questions to Ask the Dentist.  Please continue to send them in…we will get to each of them as soon as possible!  You can ask your questions below in the comment section or you can email me at info@ParkRidgeDDS.com 

And, remember, as always…we LOVE making you smile!

 

 

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13 comments
Megan
Megan

Hello, for a few days now my gum in the far back and only on the left side has been aching and it hurts when I smile. I have not had my wisdom teeth removed as there has been no reason to so I was curious if it could be my wisdom teeth that is irritating my gum but it's only on the left bottom side of my mouth? Any suggestion to what it could be? Please and thank you.

Stacey
Stacey

Hi, my gums started hurting a day ago. They still hurt really bad it's only on my left side between the last two molars. If I but down or apply any type of pressure they hurt badly. Is this something I should be worried about? This has never happened before, I've had my wisdom teeth removed so I know it's not that.

yesenia
yesenia

Hello I have 4 kids I had problems with my teeth when I have kids I have pain off and on every day I feel pain on my gums and teeth I lost 4 teeth threw my pregancy iam so scared to loose all my teeth I don't know what good to eat for your teeth and health I get scared cause I know having teeth problem can cause helath issue and that is what scares me especilially when I have young kids 13, 7, 5, 5months.

hotassprincess
hotassprincess

Hello my name is kiara my teeth is just really Irritating me n it fell like my gums at the both of my month haves a cut is it something I can buy to help it.

Naamah
Naamah

Hello, I have recently been noticing that my gums are sensitive and they have sores on them. There is a sore on my first canine and my second canine. And I have sores on my gums on the mandible portion of my mouth only on the left side.  My gums are also swollen. I have good oral hygiene. I am really worried .Do you mind explaining to me what is going on?

Ken and Lisa
Ken and Lisa

This is great info as we've had this problem in the past. Sometimes it was due to sinus infection but we love the advice of using salt rinses and massage on the gums. Will try it out next time. 

Lori
Lori

Thanks for this one Claudia! I have a question for the Dentist. is it alright if I put it here?

I would love to know how to find a Dentist I can trust in my area. If I were in Chicago, I'd be racing to your clinic but I'm way too far away from you! Do you have any specific tips for shopping around so I know who I should place my trust in?

Thanks!

Lori

 

ParkRidgeDDS
ParkRidgeDDS moderator

@yesenia Hello and thank you for visiting our website!  As you can imagine, it is really difficult to diagnose and recommend treatment to people without being able to see them and.or their x-rays in person.  With your concerns, I would definitely suggest that you make an appointment with your dentist so that you can sit down and discuss your issues with her/him and they can make some intelligent and well thought out suggestions for you!  The good news is that you seem to be motivated to do something about your dental health!  Good for you!  The next step is to share those concerns with a dentist!! Best of luck to you!

ParkRidgeDDS
ParkRidgeDDS moderator

@Naamah Thank you for visiting our site!  Whenever you have something that seems unusual regarding your dental health, it is always a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist to make sure that everything is okay.  It is always better to have a good clinical exam by a trusted dentist to deal with issues related to oral health!  I hope that this has helped you!  

ParkRidgeDDS
ParkRidgeDDS moderator

 @Ken and Lisa Hi Ken and Lisa...thank you for visiting and for your comment.  Sore gums is a very common problem and one that can be worrisome.  You are right that sometimes the cause of achiness in the gums can be related to sinus infections!  It is always a great idea to check with our healthcare professional (dentist or physician) if a problem does not seem to be resolving so that they can get to the root (haha) of the cause!

ParkRidgeDDS
ParkRidgeDDS moderator

 @Lori HAH!!!! I just realized that this my rather unceremonious 100th post!  Thank you for commenting on our 100th post at Family Dental Care Park Ridge ;-) 

ParkRidgeDDS
ParkRidgeDDS moderator

 @Lori Hi Lori!! Thank you for your wonderful support.  I, too, wish that you were in our area...for so many more reasons than just the convenience of our dental office ;-)  If you don't mind, I would love to address the selection of a dentist in one of the next "Ask the Dentist" features so...stay tuned;-)  Your answer will be forthcoming ;-)

Lori
Lori

 @ParkRidgeDDS This is your 100th post!?!? Wow! Congratulations Claud! It must be hard to believe!

I look forward to the answer to my Ask the Dentist question! ;-)

Lori