When your gums start getting a little sore, this usually means you're starting to develop some gum disease or periodontal disease. Usually, flossing daily and using an antiseptic mouthwash will take care of the issue before long. But sometimes, sore gums do warrant a trip to the dentist. Here are some signs you need to see a dentist about your sore gums — along with a look at what a dentist typically does about this issue.

Signs You Should See a Dentist

  1. Your gums aren't responding to improved dental hygiene: If your flossing and mouthwash routine does not make your gums substantially less sore within a week or two, then you should see a dentist.

  2. There are pockets between your teeth and gums: If you look at your gums and there appears to be space between the gum tissue and your teeth, then you have a more serious case of periodontal disease that warrants professional dental care. Food particles will get caught in the pockets, and your gums will likely never heal on their own.

Your gums are bleeding excessively: A little bleeding the first few times you floss is one thing. But if your gums are bleeding more than a drop now and then, you should see a dentist.

What a Dentist Will Do

The first thing a dentist usually does for periodontal disease is clean the teeth. In addition to standard dental cleaning, they may also do what's known as scaling and planing. After numbing your mouth, they will scrape between the gums and teeth. This removes bacteria from the area, which will finally allow your gums to start healing.

If you have pockets, your dentist may insert tiny antibiotic chips into the pockets. These slowly break down, killing the bacteria causing the gum disease. Your dentist may also prescribe an antiseptic mouthwash that is stronger than the ones sold over-the-counter. Using this rinse daily can allow you to get the gum disease under control.

In the most serious of cases, you may need gum grafts to replace some of the gum tissue you have lost due to the gum disease. However, this is not usually done until the immediate gum disease clears up.

Sometimes sore gums can be treated at home, but you should never hesitate to seek a dentist's care if needed. A good dentist will look at your teeth and gums and then prescribe a path forward that allows you to heal comfortably.