You’re brushing your teeth one night when you catch sight of something strange in your reflection. You take a closer look and realize there’s a large, gross bump on your gums! What does it mean? What are you supposed to do? Can your dentist help? Continue reading to find out.
What Causes Bumps on Gums?
Boils or bumps on your gums are also known as abscesses. The main reason they form is due to a bacterial infection, whether it’s caused by plaque, tooth decay, or particles of food getting stuck in the teeth or gums. In rare situations, the bump may be a symptom of oral cancer.
If you do have an abscess on your gums, pain is usually the first sign that something is wrong. Other symptoms, besides catching the bump in the mirror or discovering it with your tongue, may include:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Chronic bad breath
- Unexplained bleeding
- Pus discharge
- Swollen gums
- Fever or fatigue
While some of these symptoms may be indicative of a problem other than a gum boil, it never hurts to see your dentist just to be sure.
How Can Your Dentist Treat a Gum Boil?
More often than not, gum boils are caused by poor oral hygiene, so your dentist may simply suggest increased brushing and flossing. They may also prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash to help fight off any bacterial infection, or a round of antibiotics.
Other treatments depend on the cause of the boil. Improperly fitting dentures are another common reason for gum bumps. In that case, your dentist may reline the dentures, so they fit more comfortably. If tooth decay is to blame, then it might be the result of a serious infection deep within the tooth. Your dentist might then recommend getting a root canal to remove the infection and alleviate your discomfort. Another cause may be gum disease. If that’s the case, it could be time for a dental deep cleaning to remove the bacterial infection from within your gum tissue.
Home Remedies for Gum Boils
Until you can see your dentist to determine the best course of action, there are a few things you can do at home to temporarily relieve your pain, such as:
- Gargling with saltwater
- Rinsing with garlic juice
- Applying clove oil or tea tree oil to the affected area
- Rinsing with a 50-50 solution of water and hydrogen peroxide
Gum boils are a gross and uncomfortable problem, but they are usually fairly easy to treat. Even if on the off chance that they are a sign of oral cancer, the problem can be treated as long as you see your dentist as soon as possible.
About the Author
Dr. James Maurer earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Minnesota and then relocated to Longmont, CO to open his practice, where he works with his son, Dr. Dan Maurer. Dr. James Maurer treats every patient with the care and respect with which he would treat a member of his own family. If you discover an abnormality on your gums, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Maurer at (303) 772-7000.