How To Fix Gum Swollen Around One Tooth Overnight

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

Gums that have swelled up around one tooth overnight can usually be self-managed at home with a specialized way of flossing. If you implement the way we show you how to floss along with an improved effort at oral hygiene, the gum swelling should resolve within 48 hours.

Tooth model next to floss

We’ll show you our best tips on how to get rid of this irritating gingival condition and also explain what could’ve possibly caused it.

How to treat it at home

The key to getting rid of swollen gums around one tooth that happens overnight is by flossing not only the tooth but also the gums. If you couple that with an improved effort at oral hygiene, the swelling should subside after about 2 days.

How get rid of the gum swelling around one tooth at home:

  1. Floss the tooth.
  2. Floss the gums.
  3. Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes.
  4. Rinse with mouthwash for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Repeat 3x a day for 2 days.

The important point we wish to emphasize is that you must floss both the tooth and the gums. Most people floss only the teeth and forget about the gums. Below is a video demonstration of what we mean by flossing both the gums and the tooth.

Video important points:

  • Flossing the tooth involves wrapping the floss around the tooth in a C-shape and then going up and down vertically.
  • Flossing the gums involve pulling the floss towards the gums instead of the tooth and flossing it up and down.

Once again, most people floss the tooth but NOT the gums which is why the condition does not improve.

What doesn’t help

There are innumerable home remedies for toothaches and swollen gums but the vast majority of them will be ineffective. Some of them may alleviate the pain temporarily but they will not improve your condition nor permanently get rid of it.

Home remedies to avoid:

  • Bleach
  • Brake fluid
  • Gasoline
  • Food based home remedies

Remedies that relieve pain but don’t cure the gum swelling:

  • Painkillers. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin will all relieve pain temporarily.
  • Essential oils. Clove oil, oregano oil, basil oil, tea tree oil, and etc all have analgesic properties which may help reduce the pain from the gums. Once again, it does not permanently get rid of it though.

Causes of overnight single tooth gum swelling

The most common cause for gum swelling around one tooth overnight would be if you had food stuck. Another potential cause albeit more rare would be an abscess or infection.


  • Stuck food. Most common would be if you had some type of food like a fish bone, tortilla chip, popcorn kernel, or etc that gets lodged into the gums of your tooth. If you don’t get the food out before bed, it will become swollen when you wake up the next morning.
  • Dental abscess. If you’ve been having a bit of a toothache for the past few days, you may wake up the next morning with an abscess. A sign of this would be swelling around one tooth.
  • Periodontal disease. Untreated gum disease can eventually progress to the point where it starts causing gum swelling. It may be a coincidence that it happens overnight.

Typically if the gums swell up without any warning at all, it’s most likely stuck food. Although if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while it could be gum disease.

When to see a dentist

On average, if you follow our at home treatment protocol for the swelling around the tooth, it should go away in about 2 days. That time frame is what we typically see with our patients.

However, if you don’t notice an improvement after 2 days or if it gets worse, you should contact your dentist. It means that your situation is unmanageable at home by yourself.

When to seek professional help:

  • No improvement after 48 hours.
  • Swelling gets worse.

Typically if your condition gets worse, it most likely indicated that your gingival swelling around that tooth is probably not from stuck food. You may potentially have an abscess.

Professional treatment

Depending on the severity of the gum swelling around the tooth, treatment will differ.

  • Deep tooth cleaning. The swelling could be a lodged foreign object that is deep beneath the gums. Localized deep teeth cleaning can loosen and dislodge the stuck object.
  • Incision and drainage. Gum swelling from an abscess will need to be physically drained. The procedure requires an incision followed by draining the infection.
  • Antibiotics. After treatment, you may be prescribed antibiotics in pill form and in mouth rinse form. Expect some amoxicillin and also some chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse.

These are all possible treatments if the gums around your tooth swells up suddenly overnight.


Here are some tips on the best way to prevent swollen gums around a single tooth overnight.

  • Floss before bed. The gum swellings which occur overnight are mostly due to unremoved food. If you don’t floss it out, it will swell up in the morning.
  • Brush thoroughly. The average brushing time is about 45 seconds which is far less than the recommended 2 minutes. If you’re not cleaning your teeth thoroughly it’ll be more likely to become swollen.
  • Minimize risky foods. Small hard foods like tortilla chips or fish bones can easily become lodged into your gums. Minimizing the amount of these risky foods in your diet can save you the headache of having to deal with the aftermath.

Despite these tips, there are times where it is inevitable and you still end up with this precarious condition. Although practicing these good habits do minimize the number of occurrences.


Implementing good oral hygiene habits can resolve swollen gums from a single tooth overnight. The trick is to floss not only the affected tooth but also floss the affected gums. It may take about 48 hours for it to go away but it can usually be managed by yourself at home.

However, if your condition does not improve or it gets worse, please contact your dentist because it may be more severe than you thought.


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