Pain or Swelling in Mouth

Regardless if it is sensitivity, bleeding gums, or even the sensation of inflammation or burning, many of us experience pain inside our mouth. It is possible for pain and swelling to occur anywhere inside the mouth including on the tongue, the gums, insides of the cheeks, and on roof of the mouth. If you are experiencing severe mouth pain, it is important to contact your dentist immediately as it could suggest there is a more severe issue. For proper treatment of the pain, it is critical to first understand the cause of your pain and swelling.

Sores in the Mouth

Various issues can cause mouth sores. One common sore patients experience is canker sores. These are small ulcers which can form on the inside of the cheeks, tongue, gums, or roof of the mouth. The sores are easily identified as they contain a white lesion with a red border. Before they are visible, canker sores may cause a slight tingling or burning sensation.

For most patients, canker sores will eventually heal on their own without treatment. In some cases, however, your dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse, antibiotic, or corticosteroid which can aid in the healing process. Aside from canker sores, there are other types of sores which can develop in the mouth. In some cases, mouth sores are a sign of a more serious problem like oral cancer. If your mouth sores are severe or are lasting for extended periods, follow up with your dentist to ensure there are not underlying health concerns.

Oral Injury

Many patients experience injuries to the mouth or tooth which can result in pain or swelling. These types of accidental injuries can include falling, biting your lip, being hit by another object, cracking your tooth, scratching the gums, or burning your tongue. Professional dental treatment may be required based on how severe the injury is and the type of damage.

For patients who have a cracked tooth, they often experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. The pain may come and go or become worse when eating.


An occasional sharp pain or throbbing without an obvious cause is often a symptom of tooth decay. Patients who experience tenderness when eating or are sensitive to hot and cold may have a cavity and need to seek treatment. It is especially important to treat cavities right away to prevent the decay from progressing and to preserve the tooth. For mild cavities, a tooth-colored filling is commonly used. When severe decay is present, a root canal may be required. In extreme cases, the tooth may need to be extracted.

Dry Mouth

Having a dry mouth is a condition which occurs when the salivary glands fail to properly maintain moisture inside the mouth. Saliva severs in vital roles inside the mouth such as cleaning debris and bacteria from the teeth and also preventing teeth erosion from high levels of acid.

It is common for patients with a dry mouth to feel thirsty, have bad breath, experience mouth sores, develop cavities, or have swelling in the mouth. In some cases, the issue can be resolved increasing the amount of water the patient is consuming and consuming nutritious food.

For patients who have a severe case of dry mouth, professional dental treatment may be necessary. The dentist will identify the cause and determine the optimal treatment plan.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the most common oral health issue which affects adults. Gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease, occurs from a buildup of plaque. The plaque causes decay and can result in swollen, bleeding gums or foul breath.

It is possible to reverse gingivitis with good oral hygiene and regular dental care. However, when gingivitis is not properly treated, it can progress into the advanced form of gum disease, periodontitis. This can result in the teeth becoming loose, erosion of the gums, and bone loss.

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