Throbbing gum pain is one of the most uncomfortable oral problems that people face. With no single cause, it can be difficult to diagnose the underlying condition. Gum pain can greatly range in intensity. While some people will experience a mild soreness that goes away within a few hours or days, other people will have chronic pain that can become nearly unbearable. By understanding what causes throbbing gum pain, you can become better equipped to relieve the discomfort and leave the pain in the past.
Top Causes of Throbbing Gum Pain
One of the most common causes of gum pain is periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. Common symptoms of gingivitis include redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. With professional treatment and proper oral home care, gingivitis is usually reversible.
If gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis. Periodontitis can develop when plaque extends to the gums which cause irritation and sets off a chronic inflammatory response. If periodontitis is also left unchecked, tooth loss and other oral health issues can occur. As the disease progresses, throbbing gum pain can develop and worsen over time.
Throbbing gum pain can also be caused by canker sores that develop at the base of the gums. Canker sores are very common with more than 3 million cases in the U.S. each year. These small ulcers can make talking and eating uncomfortable, but most clear up on their own within a week or two. Although the exact cause of canker sores is unknown, tissue injury or stress is believed to trigger them. Certain acidic or citrus fruits and vegetables can also worsen the problem.
Dental abscesses are another cause of throbbing gum pain. When an infection forms at the root of the tooth, it forms a pocket of puss known as an abscess. While abscesses do not always cause pain, many do along with swelling and redness. As an abscess will not usually go away on its own, it is important to see treatment. If left untreated, you run the risk of the infection spreading to other parts of the body which can make you ill.
Look for signs that could indicate that your tooth abscess is spreading, such as fever, severe and persistent throbbing that radiates to the neck, ear, or jawbone, sensitivity to the pressure of biting or chewing, or sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures. Other signs include swelling in the face, a sudden occurrence of foul-tasting and foul-smelling salty fluid in the mouth which could mean that the abscess has ruptured, or tender lymph nodes in the neck or under the jaw.
Treatment for Throbbing Gum Pain
If you are experiencing throbbing gum pain, a visit to the dentist is in order. In the meantime, you can try a few home remedies to get short-term relief. Start with a saltwater rinse that consists of ½ teaspoon of table salt mixed into 8 ounces of water. Swish the mixture in your mouth and spit it out. A cold compress pressed against the face may help reduce swelling and relieve some discomfort.
Over-the-counter pain medications and oral anesthetics can also be useful. If the throbbing gum pain lasts more than 1 or 2 days, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, contact your dentist immediately.