Swollen Gums After a Cavity

After having a cavity filled, it is normal to experience tooth sensitivity to air, pressure, sweets and temperature. Discomfort of this nature should resolve itself within two to four weeks. If, however, you experience swollen gums after having a cavity filled, another factor is likely involved. Swollen gums are very common and may be caused by several different conditions. Your swollen gums after dental work may be coincidence, but the dental work could be the cause.

A young woman is at the dentist. (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Causes

A common cause of swollen gums is periodontal disease, or gingivitis, a disease involving inflammation and infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Gingivitis is often the result of poor oral hygiene, which also leads to cavities. Other causes of swollen gums not related to your dental work include viruses or infections, pregnancy, scurvy, malnutrition, vitamin C deficiency, drug side effects, alcohol abuse, canker sores, pregnancy or other hormonal fluctuations. Causes directly related to your dental visit may include an allergy to your filling or other product used by your dentist, breathing through your mouth after your procedure or psychological stress.

Allergies

Fewer than 100 cases of allergic reactions to silver fillings have been reported to the American Dental Association, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. If you are allergic to mercury or one of the metals used in an amalgam restoration, it could trigger an allergic reaction similar to a skin rash, including swelling and itching of your gums. If you have a family history of metal allergies, another substance can be used to fill your cavity. Other possible allergens that can cause your gums to swell are toothpastes and mouthwashes. Switching to a different brand of toothpaste with alternate ingredients should resolve the swelling, as well as avoiding mouthwashes.

Drug Reaction

Some drugs, such as dilantin and phenobarbitol, can cause your gums to swell as a side effect. Both drugs are barbiturates prescribed to control seizures, in addition to treating other conditions. Speak to your physician before you stop taking these, or any other prescribed medication. If you also experience swelling of your face, tongue, throat or lips, contact your doctor immediately. Additional symptoms requiring immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing, mood changes, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity or suicidal thoughts.

Home Care

If there is discomfort associated with the swelling, the swelling is severe or persistent or the swelling is accompanied by additional unexplained symptoms, contact a medical professional. At home, avoid irritating your gums by not using alcohol or tobacco. Keep your teeth and gums healthy by brushing your teeth at least two times per day, preferably after meals and before bed, floss at least one time per day, visit a dental professional at least once every six months for a check up and cleaning and keep dental appliances, like dentures, clean.

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