Pain or Swelling in Mouth

Many of us have experienced pain inside our mouth, whether it is increased sensitivity, bleeding gums, or a sensation of burning or inflammation. Pain and swelling can occur virtually anywhere inside the mouth. Common locations can include the tongue, the gums, the insides of the cheeks, and on the palate or roof of the mouth. It is important to contact your dentist right away if you are experiencing severe mouth pain, as it could be a sign of a more serious problem. In order to properly treat the pain, the cause of the pain and swelling must first be identified.

Mouth Sores

There are a variety of issues which can result in mouth sores. Canker sores are one of the most common types of sores that patients experience. Canker sores are small ulcers which often form on the insides of the cheeks, surface of the tongue, gums, and roof of the mouth. Prior to being externally visible, patients sometimes experience a slight tingling or burning sensation.

In most cases, canker sores will heal on their own without intervention or treatment. However, in some cases, the dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse, antibiotic, or corticosteroid to expedite the healing process. In addition to canker sores, there are additional types of sores which can develop in the mouth which may be a sign of a more serious problem such as oral cancer. If a patient is experiencing severe mouth sores or they last for extended periods, it is important to follow up with your dentist to rule out serious health issues.


It is common for patients to experience some type of injury to the mouth which can cause pain and swelling. These types of injuries may include accidents such as falling, biting the lip, being hit by another object, cracking a tooth, scratching the gums, or burning the tongue. Depending on the severity of the injury, professional dental treatment may be needed.


A common symptom of tooth decay includes occasional sharp pains or throbbing without any obvious causes. Patients may have a cavity if they are experiencing tenderness while eating or are sensitive to hot and cold. In most cases, treatment will be required. In order to prevent the decay from progressing and to preserve the tooth, it is important to treat a cavity as soon as possible. For cases of mild cavities, tooth-colored fillings are often used. When more severe decay exists, treatment may involve a root canal. In cases of extreme decay, the tooth may need to be removed.

Dry Mouth

When the salivary glands fail to properly maintain moisture in the mouth, it results in a dry mouth. Saliva plays a vital role in the mouth as it works to clean away debris, bacteria and the collection of acid on the teeth.

Patients who have a dry mouth often feel extremely thirsty, have foul breath, experience sores, swelling or develop cavities. The issue can sometimes be resolved by the patient simply increasing their intake of water and consuming more nutritious food. In more severe case of dry mouth, treatment may require professional intervention.

Gum Disease

One of the most common oral health issues amongst adults is gum disease. The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is caused by a buildup of plaque. The plaque buildup causes decay and the patient may experience bad breath, gums which are swollen and bleed.

Gingivitis can be reversed through good oral hygiene and routine dental care. When gingivitis is not properly treated, however, it can progress into periodontitis which is the more advanced form of gum disease. Periodontitis may cause the teeth to become loose, gum erosion, and even bone loss.

Puffy or Bleeding Gums