When dental emergencies and pain occur, it can be the result of diseases and injuries related to the teeth; however, the problem can also come from the soft tissues of the mouth (the gums, tongue, lips and cheek lining). While they are tough enough to stand up to oral environments, these gum injuries can be caused by accidental bites, falls, sports injuries, and scalding liquids. Gums and soft tissue may also incur injury from foreign bodies that become lodged below the gum line, and they can develop painful and potentially serious abscesses as well.
At Bluff Creek Dental in Chanhassen, MN, we want our patients to not only have beautiful teeth, but a healthy smile and gums. Read on to learn more about gum injuries, and how you can take precautions to prevent them.
First Aid for Gum Injuries
Soft tissue and gum injuries don’t usually bleed excessively, although blood mixed with saliva may make any bleeding appear worse than it actually is. To assist someone with this type of gum injury, you should first try to rinse the mouth with a diluted salt water solution. If a wound is visible, it can be cleaned with mild soap and water. If that isn’t possible, try to remove any foreign material by hand and rinse again.
Bleeding can usually be controlled by pressing damp gauze (or, if unavailable, another clean material) directly onto the gum injury and keeping it there for 10-15 minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, immediate medical attention will be needed. Try to see a dentist within six hours of the gum injury for evaluation and treatment. This usually involves determining the extent of the damage, performing initial restorative procedures, and possibly suturing (stitching) the wound. An antibiotic and/or tetanus shot may also be given.
If any of those steps seem scary, or just don’t seem to help the gum injury, your local family dentist in Chanhassen, MN will always be ready to assist and heal a soft tissue injury.
Occasionally, foreign objects may become lodged in the space between teeth and gums, causing irritation and the potential for infection. There are a few foods, such as popcorn husks, that seem especially prone to doing this, but other items placed in the mouth, like wood splinters from toothpicks or bits of fingernail, can cause a gum injury as well.
If you feel something stuck under your gum, you can try using dental floss to remove it by gently working the floss up and down below the gum line to dislodge the object. Light pressure from a toothpick may also help work a foreign object free, but avoid pressing too hard or pushing the object in deeper. If that doesn’t work, see your family dentist at Bluff Creek Dental as soon as possible. Special tools may be needed to find and remove the foreign object, and you may be given medication to prevent infection.
Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses
Sometimes called a gum boil, a periodontal abscess is a pus-filled sac that may form between teeth and gums. It is caused by an infection, which may have resulted from untreated periodontal disease or food and other objects trapped beneath the gum line. Because pressure builds up quickly inside abscesses, they are generally quite painful. Symptoms may include a throbbing toothache which comes on suddenly, tenderness and swelling of the gums or face, and sometimes fever. Sometimes pus draining into the mouth through an opening in the sac relieves the pressure and pain, but this may cause a strange taste.
If left untreated, abscesses can persist for months and cause serious health problems, including infections that spread to other parts of the body. That’s why it is important to see your family dentist in Chanhassen, MN right away if you experience symptoms. We will find the location of the abscess and treat it appropriately. Treatment usually involves draining the pus and fluid, thoroughly cleaning the affected area, and controlling the infection.
Contact Your Chanhassen Family Dentist for Gum Injury Needs
At Bluff Creek Dental, your family dentist and staff want to help you protect your beautiful smile. That’s why we provide education and services for preventing and treating gum injuries. Call us at (952) 937-5200 or request an appointment in our Chanhassen, MN office today!