Swollen Gum Around One Tooth: Know About its Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

  Jan 23, 2024
Reviewed by Geeta Singh

Swollen gums are a common dental concern that you should not ignore. Gum swollen around one tooth is an uncomfortable experience and could indicate a serious concern that needs immediate attention. Most people take dental diseases lightly and keep procrastinating visiting a doctor.

However, you should know that maintaining the link between oral health and mental health acts as a mirror for your entire well-being.

So, if you’re experiencing swollen gums, this article will give you a detailed view of the causes, signs, home remedies, and treatment strategies that will act as a roadmap to better oral health.

Swollen Gums

What Can Cause Swollen Gums?

Swollen gum around one tooth can be a particularly unpleasant situation, and knowing the reason can help you ease the pain. 

A dentist can be of help here and diagnose the condition, along with deciding the best treatment plan for you.

Here is a comprehensive list to answer a common question: ‘Why is my gum swollen around one tooth?’

  • Gingivitis – Gingivitis commonly refers to inflammation of gums and results in red, swollen gums. It usually occurs due to plaque deposition. 

    For people who do not brush their teeth in a certain way, a sticky film gets stuck to their teeth, further encouraging bacterial proliferation. 

    Do your gums bleed while brushing? Well, gingivitis irritates the tissue and is the most common reason for bleeding gums.

    Gingivitis can cause swelling around one tooth or be evenly distributed throughout the mouth. If left untreated, it can progress to a more serious condition.

  • Periodontitis – Periodontitis is an advanced case of gum disease and is characterized by inflammation and infection of the area around teeth. It can cause swollen gum around one tooth or even affect the entire dentition.

    The teeth usually have spaces in between, known as pocket formation, which symbolizes advanced dental infection. With time, it can even result in bone loss and might even loosen or shift your teeth.

  • Trench Mouth – Trench mouth, or acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG), is a severe form of gum disease. It is a painful condition with bleeding, swollen gums, ulcers, and bad breath. The infection is uncommon and usually occurs due to poor oral hygiene.
  • Ill-Fitting Dentures – Poorly fitted dentures can cause irritation and inflammation of the gums. Persistent wear can cause discomfort and might even cause ulcers and swelling.
  • Orthodontic Appliances – People with crooked smiles undergo orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth and get that picture-perfect smile

    Braces, wires, and other orthodontic appliances can temporarily cause swelling around one tooth. They also exert pressure and impinge on gums, which can cause inflammation and redness. Taking care of braces is not an easy task, so make sure you’re equipped to handle the process.

  • Tooth Decay – Caries not only cause cavities and pain but can also cause irritated and infected gums.
  • Root Fracture – A fracture of a tooth can happen due to biting on hard objects, injury, or accident and cause swelling around one tooth overnight.
  • Foreign Object – A lodged object between teeth can irritate the gums and cause swelling thereafter. You might feel your food getting stuck at times, and it can cause gum to hurt around one tooth. 

    Also, remember pockets, where food is getting stuck already, indicate unhealthy gums. 

  • Abscess – A dental abscess is a small space filled with pus in the gums around the tooth or roots of the teeth due to an infection. 

    Injured or decayed teeth when left untreated can result in abscess formation. It is a serious condition and needs medical intervention to avoid further damage.

  • Poor Oral Hygiene – Improper cleaning of teeth and mouth can contribute to gum disease, which can exhibit symptoms in the form of swollen gums around teeth.
  • Gum Infections – Untreated infections in gums, bacterial or viral, can cause swelling, which will need proper treatment from a dentist.
  • Trauma – Injuries to the mouth due to an accident or other trauma may need immediate attention. It may cause bruises, bleeding, fractures, and swelling that need rehabilitation.
  • Pregnancy – Hormonal changes due to pregnancy can cause pregnancy gingivitis. It includes redness and swelling of gums along with frequent bleeding from gums. 

    Usually seen in lower front teeth, it normally resolves after delivery. However, if you keep noticing such symptoms, you should visit a dentist for required care and attention. 

  • Smoking – Regular smokers might have impaired blood flow, which can cause gum disease and swollen gums.
  • Allergic Reaction – In a few cases, the swelling can be triggered due to an allergic reaction. Certain food products or oral care items can act as irritants and cause inflammation. 

    The symptoms usually subside once the allergen is removed, but might need professional intervention.

  • Pericoronitis – Are you struggling to find out why my gum is swollen around one tooth in the back? Well, the chances are it’s pericoronitis, an infection around your unerupted molar. 

    Nowadays, it is becoming extremely common, and you will find a lot of your peers getting their last tooth extracted. It is due to inadequate space in the mouth for 3rd molars, exerting pressure and causing inflammation.

Swelling Due to Medical Conditions

Gum swelling at times can help reveal medical conditions underneath, therefore highlighting the importance of regular dental visits. A few disorders that can manifest oral symptoms include:

  • Diabetes – High blood sugar over a prolonged period can impact oral health. Diabetic people are prone to gum problems and swelling due to their impaired blood circulation and immunity.
  • Vitamin C deficiency – Also known as Scurvy, can lead to swollen gums. Vitamin C is crucial for collagen formation and its insufficiency weakens the gums and causes inflammation.
  • Vitamin B deficiency – Vitamin B deficiency, and specifically Vitamin B12—is vital for maintaining oral health. The deficiency may exhibit symptoms and require supplements to overcome the shortage.
  • Blood cancer –  Blood cancers like Leukemia, can manifest oral symptoms like swollen gums, bleeding gums, or ulcers due to compromised immune systems.
  • Fungal infections – Oral thrush, a common fungal infection, can cause swelling in gums. It mostly happens in someone with a weak immune system or as a side effect of certain antibiotics.
  • Medication side effects – A few medicines, like blood pressure or seizure medications, can cause swelling in the gums as a negative reaction. You should always discuss your medical history with your dentist to help them formulate an accurate diagnosis.

What Are the Symptoms of Swollen Gums?

There are a few signs and symptoms of swelling in gums that you can notice and seek dental treatment for. Acknowledging symptoms early can help control the damage and attain a healthy smile. The symptoms include 

  • Pain – Gum disease, specifically bone loss, can be accompanied by gnawing pain. You may not notice gum swelling around one tooth but may only experience deep probing pain and discomfort.
  • Change in color – You may notice changes in color, texture, and appearance in gums that may provide information about the nature of gum swelling. 
  • Bleeding – It is one of the most common signs and you need to know bleeding while brushing or flossing your teeth is not a normal sight. You should speak to your dentist if you regularly experience bleeding in your morning oral cleaning.
  • Pus – You may observe pus around your tooth, indicating a deeper issue that needs to be catered to.
  • Foul smell – Persistent bad breath is usually indicative of gum disease. It might even make you conscious but seeing a dentist can help you regain confidence.
    Difference between healthy and inflamed gums

How Can a Doctor Diagnose Swollen Gums?

Swelling in gums can happen due to a wide range of reasons and needs prompt attention. A thorough examination is essential to get down to the hidden reason and avoid further complications. 

As mentioned earlier, swelling around one tooth or multiple teeth can indicate other diseases and timely diagnosis can be a boon in such situations.

A qualified dentist can look into the condition and give the right answer to gum swollen around one tooth overnight or even generalized swelling.

These are the ways a dentist will help you find the exact reason:

  • Visual examination – A detailed visual examination is an initial step that can help a dentist examine the state of the gums and note down the signs of inflammation or infection. 

    They can assess the condition of gums, and oral mucosa, to note down any lesions if present. A general examination will help the dentist identify obvious signs of trauma or infection.

  • Probing  – A dentist uses a dental probe to determine gum health by measuring spaces in between teeth. Pocket formation if present indicates gum disease and would call for further action.
  • Imaging – In some cases, a dentist may need a radiographic examination to determine the extent or reason behind swollen gums. An X-ray provides a comprehensive view of oral tissues, including bone health and the presence of abscesses, which dictate the next step to resolve the gum issues.
  • Medical history – Your medical and dental history plays a major role in determining oral health. Many conditions project oral manifestations, and in many cases, even blood cancer is diagnosed due to the presence of ulcers in the mouth.
  • Oral hygiene practices – Assessment of oral hygiene is an integral part of the diagnosis of swollen gums. Improper cleaning is the most common cause of plaque and bacterial colonization which in advanced stages cause gum diseases. 

Home Remedies for Swollen Gums

Although it is imperative to seek an expert opinion, some home remedies can help you ease the discomfort for the time being. So, how do you treat a swollen gum around one tooth at home? Here are the top 4 quick tricks you can try:

  • Saline Rinse – Warm water and salt can be a magic potion that can suck all the pain off of your teeth. It is a natural antiseptic and works by reducing inflammation. 
  • Cold compress – Using cold compresses can alleviate pain and reduce swelling as it antagonizes heat and reduces inflammation in teeth. 
  • Aloe Vera – Popular for its soothing properties, it has made its way into skincare. However, what is interesting is its role in oral care. Rubbing aloe vera on your gums can magically take away the pain due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial nature.
  • Turmeric Paste – Turmeric has been known for its magical virtues for hundreds of years in India, and now it is equally popular in the whole world. Turmeric paste can be applied to gums as it will help reduce the swelling with its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory nature.

How Can You Treat Swollen Gums?

The treatment protocol greatly varies according to the root cause and for that reason, an accurate diagnosis is of great importance.

To know how you can treat swollen gum around one tooth or the entire mouth, let’s take a quick glance at possible scenarios:

  • Professional Dental Cleaning –  A dentist provides complete oral prophylaxis aimed at the removal of plaque, solidified deposits, and stains. It helps in revamping oral health and treats gum disease, which brings down swelling.
  • Medication –  A dentist can prescribe oral antibiotics in case of infection which will help with oozing pus and reduce swelling in the gums. Going through a proper antibiotics course is mandatory to reap the desired results. Painkillers can also be prescribed if deemed necessary.
  • Underlying Causes – Dental treatment of root causes like caries and abscesses may be required to resolve the issue of swollen gums around one tooth.
  • Surgical Intervention – In a few cases, periodontal therapy or extraction might be necessary to relieve pain and swelling. An extraction is mostly suggested if you have swollen gum around one tooth in the back due to an unerupted molar that needs removal.  

    Periodontal therapy is undertaken if there is bone loss due to any reason and augmentation can be done to resolve bone issues in the mouth.

  • Oral Hygiene – Educating people about oral hygiene practices can avoid inflammation and subsequent gum swelling. Knowing the ideal angle and type of toothbrush can help you keep your teeth plaque-free which would maintain optimal oral hygiene. 

    Furthermore, using proper flossing techniques and mouthwash can add additional steps to your routine and ensure better cleaning.

  • Lifestyle and Dietary Changes – Implementing lifestyle changes like quitting smoking can be beneficial in the long run and can help combat oral problems.

    Moreover, avoid excessive sugar and sugary drinks as it contributes to bacterial proliferation. In the same way, having plenty of water ensures adequate saliva production that further helps keep oral bacteria at bay.

  • Recent Advancements – Science is making breakthroughs in treatment modalities and continuously providing newer, more effective treatment means. A few of them include gene therapy, stem cell therapy, utilizing bioactive compounds, and periodontal vaccines. 

More research is required to introduce such treatments into practice, but it will undoubtedly happen soon enough. If you want more information, check out this YouTube video by a channel named Joseph R. Nemeth, DDS, about how to treat swollen gums at home.

Also read: What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal? Top 25 Recommendations

When Should You Visit a Dentist for Swollen Gums?

You need to visit a dentist to understand how to treat swollen gum around one tooth. But when exactly should you knock on a dentist’s door, let’s find out:

  • Severe Pain – If the pain is uncontrollable, it might be ideal to book an appointment with a dentist to find out the reason.
  • Swelling – If the swelling persists and there is no relief with home remedies, you might as well go to a dentist.
  • Recurring Gum Issues – If you seem to have frequent incidences of gum swelling and cannot find the reason, you should talk to a professional.
  • Gum Color – If you notice a change in gum or tooth color, you must seek an expert opinion and treat the underlying cause.

A dentist can easily handle gum disease for you, but instead of going to anyone, first you need to focus on choosing the right orthodontist. Make sure not to postpone your visit, as it may have negative outcomes.

How to Prevent Gum Swelling?

While you should know the causes and treatment strategies of swollen gums in teeth, it is equally important to know about steps that can prevent it from happening in the first place.

  • Regular Brushing – The importance of brushing twice a day cannot be emphasized enough. In the same manner, flossing your teeth regularly can help keep the interdental spaces clean, which is mostly the primary site for caries and infection. A dentist can help you understand the proper brushing and flossing techniques to maintain oral hygiene.
  • Mouthwash – Knowing which mouthwash suits you the best and incorporating it into your cleaning routine can be a game-changer. A rule we often forget is that you should never use mouthwash immediately after brushing, as it can sabotage the benefits of toothpaste.
  • Scaling – Regular clean-up, also known as scaling, from a dental office can help prevent gum disease. For that reason, you should visit your dentist every 6 months and maintain good oral health.

Bottom Line

Swollen gums can indicate various diseases and inadequate oral hygiene. Multiple factors come into play, and it would be best if you let a dentist take charge and find out the exact cause.

Along with seeking proper dental treatment, learn different ways to maintain oral hygiene by employing correct brushing and flossing techniques. If the issue persists, do not hesitate to consult a dentist and avail of needful treatment.

Remember, a confident smile begins with healthy teeth.


Gingivitis – Mayo Clinic