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Dentistry/braces and swollen gums


Hi there, I am 17, and have had my braces on for a year now. I can't remember when it started, but my gums around just two teeth on my right side of my mouth are quite swollen. I have excellent oral hygiene- I brush (electric toothbrush as recommended by my dentist)2-3 times daily, floss every day, and use a little spiral brush to get in between the brackets every day. My dentist/hygienist, who is very thorough, said that she thinks there is glue or stuff from when they put the braces on under my gums and itís causing irritation, and that itís not gum decease because itís only around 2 teeth. Also, when the braces get tightened the gums around those 2 teeth tend to swell a little more than usual- is this just evidence that I have sensitive gums? How do I get rid of this problem? Am I doing something wrong?? What Iím most worried about is the swelling not going away when the braces come off! Please help with any advice! Thank you for your time!

Hi Kira and thanks for your question.

Your dilemma is not unique and one that can occur as a reaction to orthodontic treatment.  The problem is usually localized to one area rather than affecting all the teeth and problem tends to fluctuate in severity.  One must bear in mind that, with any ortho treatment, one is causing a degree of physiological inflammation in order to facilitate the movement of teeth in their bony sockets and in some cases this process is transferred to the gum region of some teeth.  When ortho treatment is stopped, the problem resolves itself.  The swelling tends to be more noticeable after the braces get tightened and then eases off in-between periods.  It is impossible for me to say whether of not you have any underlying gum disease, but based on your description of your oral hygiene, I would doubt that but it would be worth getting your dentist to check it thoroughly by doing a perio probing of the pocket depths in that area.  If there is anything under rather gum margin which is irritating the gum, why does no one remove the cause and the inflammation should stop? - but since you have had them on for a year, I doubt this is a likely cause anyway.  Keep a watchful eye on the area and report any changes to your dentist, but most important of all, don't neglect the area because it is swollen or even if it bleeds - clean extra well in the area.

I hope this helps and wish you all the very best further, take care.

Kind regards
Dr Craig Peck


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Dr Craig W Peck ( B.Med.Sc., B.Ch.D., Clin. Botox, Cosmet. Derm.)


I am a General Dental Practitioner, with special interests in Cosmetic Dentistry & facial aesthetics and Periodontology, placing a strong emphasis on the establishment and maintenance of a healthy periodontium (the support structure of the tooth) before cosmetic options are considered. I uphold all principles of prevention above interventional treatment and try as far as possible, to remain conservative in my approach. I believe in detailed, open and honest patient discussion, establishing what the patients expectations are and what the reality is of achieving this and involving the patient at every level of the treatment. I have strong principles on ethical treatment and appropriate patient management. I have chosen to treat and rehabilitate many nervous and phobic patients, who, for whatever reason, find it impossible to take part in the very important task of even a routine check-up. I will accept questions relating to general and cosmetic dentistry (in conjunction with the use of facial cosmetic procedures) and dental fears/phobias. I will be more than willing to answer any academic questions in dentistry, biology, physiology, psychology and health sciences in general. As most dentists will tell you, there is often not only one way of dealing with a dental issue - so very often, there is no precise right and wrong way of approaching the problem. All clinicians vary when it comes to treatments and what works best in their hands is often the treatment that is advised. Be understanding of this and bear in mind that nothing lasts forever! Patients are happy to accept only a one-years warrantee when buying a new car, but seem to expect that dental work is going to last them their lifetime.


I have worked for many years in the UK and RSA as a general dental practitioner - within the NHS, private practice and the government dental health services. I am certificated for the administration of Botox and Dermal Fillers for facial lines and wrinkles as I have attended further courses in minimally invasive facial cosmetic procedures. I started seeing an increasing number of patients who presented with severe to moderate dental fears, even with full-blown phobias, so I started with the slow and patient task of tackling this problem and have successfully rehabilitated many patients. The key is good, effective, concise and understandable communication, shifting control from the dentist to the patient in order to slowly, but confidently, regain their trust back in dentistry, thereby giving them the feeling of achievement and this self-empowerment which drives them to the next level of treatment.

Academy of General Dentistry. American Dental Education Association. IAPAM (International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine). Professional Speakers, Writers and Managements Consultants in Dentistry. The British Dental Association. UK Aesthetics Group. ARC - Aesthetic Professionals. Botox. Aesthetics & Beauty. American Association for Dental Research. FDI - World Dental Federation. SOURCE1uk. World Dental Hygiene Forum. ProDentalCPD. Public Health Dentistry. Dentist Network. LinkedIn. Who's Who of South Africa.

B.Med.Sc. Degree (Medical Physiology and Medical Virology; Physiology Cum Laude; Stell 1994). B.Ch.D. Degree (Bachelor of Dental Surgery; Clinical Dentistry Cum Laude; Stell 1997). CPR and CPR-Advanced Courses (2000/2001; UK). Clinical Botox (UK, 2001). Cosmetic Dermatology (Botox and Dermal Fillers; RSA 2011).

Awards and Honors
Placed on the Dean's List at University for academic achievement (1994). Highest achievement in the subject Dental Materials. Medal from 3M and the Radiology Association of South Africa for highest achievement in the subject Dental Radiology and Imaging. Medal from The Periodontal Association of South Africa for highest achievement in the subject Periodontology. Highest achievement for Oral Medicine. Highest achievement in Oral Pathology. Received the DASA (Dental Ass. of South Africa) Gold Medal for highest achieving dental student across the 5 1/2 years of the Degree. Passed the subject, Clinical Dentistry with distinction in final year.

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