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Dental and Oral Health Center

Odd Lump on My Gums..

01/11/2010

Question:

So, about six months ago I noticed I had a lump-like thing on my upper gums (above my front left tooth, but way up closer to my nose) not thinking anything of it, I poked at it a bit and noticed that it "deflates" when pressure is put on it with a very soft pop. Since it was causing me no pain or problem, I left it alone.

Over the last few days/weeks however it`s begun to cause slight pain and discomfort. Poking it now causes pain in my upper jaw, as well as the tooth below it, and it seems to be spreading lower down my gums and along the top of my gum line.

What is this thing, also is this something I should be running off to an ER to deal with? I`ve noticed some articles describing abscesses, which seem to fit what`s wrong here though images I`ve seen don`t look anything like it.

Help?

Answer:

From your description, it sounds like a dental abscess. To confirm this, you need to visit your dentist. He/she will most likely take a radiograph of the area to confirm the problem.

If you do have an abscess, it will most likely require the tooth to have endodontic or root canal therapy. Then the tooth will need to be restored to its original form and function. Since this has been a long-standing problem, there is the possibility that some bone has been destroyed. If too much bone has been destroyed, the tooth may not be savable. The more bone that is destroyed by the infection, the more mobile the tooth becomes. If too much bone is missing, the tooth becomes non-restorable. You have said nothing about tooth mobility so it seems it is not too late to save the tooth.

Vist your dentist as soon as possible to have it evaluated and treated appropriately.

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Response by:

D Stanley Sharples, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University