How long does it take for swollen gums to recover after removing braces?
I removed my braces 3 weeks ago and my gums are inflamed ever since. The swelling has subsided, but is still not fully recovered. What could be possible causes? Is it normal for them to be swollen for this long, or do I have to speak to my dentist about it?
Hi, gum swelling DURING braces is unfortunately quite common. We see this inflammatory gum reaction (gingivitis) in patients who collect a lot of plaque around their teeth and braces during treatment. In severe cases with poor oral hygiene, the gum may even overgrow and start creeping up the tooth or the braces (hyperplasia)
Fortunately, gingivitis improves once the braces come off. If there are hardened plaque deposits or bracket cement remaining close to or under the gumline, these need to be cleaned off to create an environment for the gums to heal properly. Gingivitis usually resolves completely after a thorough scaling and polishing within 2-3 weeks.
For patients with hyperplasia of the gums, occasionally, the excess thickened gum tissue does not return to its normal size and position even after scaling. This gum tissue may need to be removed (gingivectomy) after the necessary scaling and hygiene procedures have been completed. This is best assessed by your dentist when the state of your gums is assessed after the initial cleaning has been done.
Other patients may have more severe gum disease (periodontitis) that may not respond to a regular scaling and requires more intensive management to prevent future tooth loss.
Wearing of clear retainers can also aggravate gingivitis especially if there are heavy plaque or tartar deposits as the retainers encourage plaque accumulation. PLEASE DO NOT STOP WEARING YOUR RETAINERS AS INSTRUCTED before you have seen your dentist. Your teeth can shift very rapidly in the first year after braces have been completed.
I feel it is best to return to your dentist for a proper evaluation and follow up.
If your gums remain swollen, it is better to let your dentist check to ensure there are no gums diseases or leftover remnants of glue that is irritating the gums.
With proper cleaning and maintenance, the gums should subside with time.
Good luck and don't forget to wear your retainers!
Best wishes: Dr Sylvia Tan
A common reason for gum swelling after braces treatment is known as gingivitis. Some of the signs and symptoms of gingivitis include bleeding on brushing, redness and soreness of the gums. If the gum swelling still persists beyond 3 weeks, you should consult your dentist.
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