Why Sudden Gum Swelling Is an Emergency — Even Without Pain

Why Sudden Gum Swelling Is an Emergency — Even Without Pain

Healthy gums are essential for keeping your teeth healthy, too. If your gums are swollen, it’s a good sign that they need prompt, professional attention. 

Most people think that as long as they don’t have any pain or discomfort, a little swelling is nothing to worry about. But that’s not true. Swelling is always a sign of an underlying problem, and if it comes on suddenly, it’s also a sign that you need to call us right away.

The team at Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC offers several treatment options for New York City patients with swollen gums, addressing the underlying cause so healthy gums are restored. Here’s what causes sudden gum swelling and why any type of swelling needs to be evaluated by our team.

Why gum swelling happens

Often, swollen gums are accompanied by pain or toothache, but that’s not always the case. Regardless of whether or not you have pain, any swelling of your gum tissue requires prompt medical attention, even if swelling is relatively mild.

That’s because problems that cause gum swelling can worsen without treatment, leaving you with a bigger problem that needs to be fixed. Below are some of the possible causes of swollen gums that may or may not cause pain.

Gum disease

A leading cause of adult tooth loss, gum disease happens when bacteria along your gum line migrate to the lower parts of your teeth, eventually reaching the root pocket. Advanced gum disease may cause tooth pain when the bacteria approach the root pocket, but in its earlier stages, you may not have any discomfort. Often, swelling is accompanied by bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth.


An abscess is a pocket of pus that develops as a result of an infection. Most abscesses cause discomfort in addition to swelling, especially when you chew or bite. But sometimes, an abscess can occur without any pain — at least initially. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent serious, deep infections.

Oral cancer

More than 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer annually, according to The Oral Cancer Foundation, and each year, cancer of the mouth or throat (pharynx) causes about 10,000 deaths. Cancer can cause different symptoms, depending on which part of your mouth is affected. Swollen gums are one potential symptom you need to be aware of.

Allergies or medications

In some cases, sensitivity to an oral care product, like a mouthwash or toothpaste, can cause swelling as part of an allergic reaction or simply from irritation. Some medicines can also cause problems with your gums or increase your risk of conditions associated with gum disease.

Treating swollen gums

The first step in determining the right treatment is to have your gums evaluated by our team. In addition to a visual exam, we may use X-rays or other techniques to pinpoint the cause.

Next, we’ll recommend a treatment based on the underlying cause of swelling. Potential treatment options include:

For infections, our team may prescribe antibiotics to destroy bacteria.

If you have gum swelling with or without pain, it’s important to have it evaluated — and treated — right away to prevent more serious problems, like bone infections. To schedule your gum evaluation, call 929-229-0255 or book an appointment online at Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC today.

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