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Dr.Hans, Masters of Dental Surgery
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 644
Experience:  11 years of clinical experience in diagnosing and treating problems in oral and dental health.
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Bumps on the gums that hurt

Customer Question

My husband has a bump on the outside of his gums, it is about the size of (if you cut a pea in half) it looks kind of big to be there. He first thought it was a blister. It hurts a little bit when he pushes on it. It is the same color as his gums and it’s squishy. We do not have dental insurances and it takes forever to get an appointment at our dentist office that is for low income, what could this bump be? How concerned should we be? It’s been there for 5 days.

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr.Hans replied 8 years ago.

Welcome to JustAnswer!

Is it associated with any tooth in the oral cavity? Is there any decayed/infected tooth?

How is the condition of his gums? Is there redness/swelling all over his gums?

Is the bump painful or is it painless?

Where exactly is it located? Front or back side of the oral cavity on gums?

Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 8 years ago.

The swelling that you describe is most likely tooth abscess originating from a dead nerve in a tooth near the swelling. The tooth with the dead nerve might have a cavity in it that got deep enough to invade the nerve space, or this tooth might have died as a result of a previous trauma (such as extensive dental work or receiving a sharp blow or bumping it). There is also a chance this is a gum abscess but these are usually more painful. The infection is draining out of this small bump and therefore never builds up enough pressure to become painful.

As long as there is no significant pain, you have some time to wait to get this treated, but don't just ignore it. There is an active infection circulating in his body and in addition, these things can flare up at any time to an acute situation with facial swelling and extreme pain. He can try to take some antibiotics (which require a prescription) to keep the infection down, but this will not eliminate the problem. Once he stops taking the antibiotic, the problem will return. The tooth that is the source of the infection needs to be treated or extracted, and that will involve going to the dentist.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

It doesn't look like swelling associated with any particular tooth. He hasn't had a toothache and the bump is a perfect circle. It’s like if you cut a pea in half. It isn't painful, unless he presses on it, then it only hurts a little. His gums are kind of red but not inflamed.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

It is in the front to the left a little.

Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 8 years ago.

Even though the position of the bump may not seem associated with any particular tooth, it most likely is. There need not be any pain with the affected tooth. As there is no pressure build up of the infection. In addition, the path that the inflection takes from the tooth to the outside of the gum may not be a straight line and the abscess may be associated with a tooth adjacent to the ones near the abscess.

The fact that you describe the bump as pink and squishy is almost certain to be as I described. To be certain, however, you will have to have your dentist take an X-ray to be sure.

Expert:  Dr.Hans replied 8 years ago.

Welcome to JustAnswer!

If there is an abscess with no pain attached there can be two possibilities related to this abscess:

1) It can be an Acute abscess, the source of this abscess is the involved pulp of a tooth which has necroses and the dead nerves. This condition can be painful at it onset, but often the pain vanishes if this infection becomes chronic (Long standing). It may or may not be confined to the same associated tooth.

2) There can also be a possibility of periodontal involvement of the tooth giving rise to periodontal abscess. Tooth is often painless in this condition and the abscess is generally confined to the gum margin of the infected tooth.

So it would be wise for him to start with an antibiotic such as Amoxicillin to reduce the chances of infection:

He can take 500mg, three times daily for 5 days

Read more about this drug here:

Or Erythromycin if one is allergic to penicillin.

Read more about this drug here:

These will require a prescription from your dentist, you can even go to the ER and attending physician can give you the prescription.

The source of this infection is his tooth which needs to be treated. If the tooth has infection, visible swelling too, the antibiotics will only benefit to some extent to reduce the swelling or infection. Once he stops the taking the antibiotics, the swelling tends to come back because the source of infection-the tooth is not yet treated.

The treatment options for the abscess are different so the best for him is to get an X-ray made with the same tooth.

1) If there is any visible pupil involvement of the decay( i.e. caries inhabiting the pulp) resulting in necrosis(death of living pulp) and tooth is no longer vital(living), the only resort to save this tooth is to get the source of infection removed and get it treated by Root canal procedure!
Your dentist will be able to assess his tooth's condition by looking at the x-ray.

2) For Periodontal(gums) involvement he will have to get complete scaling and root planning done in that area. Also Curettage procedure is indicated in some regions to remove the abscess present below the gingival as scaling instruments usually do not penetrate much deeper below the gum line.

At home you can do the following to help him drain the abscess. He can Rinse frequently with hot salt water solution, dissolve ½-teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water as hot as he can tolerate without burning his mouth, and rinse for two minutes every four hours.
The heat will soften the tissue wall of the abscess, and promote drainage by softening the tissues around the infection. It will facilitate the localization and drainage of accumulated pus.

I would also like you to call your dentist and fix an appointment as early he can give.

Meanwhile you can do the following things too if you are looking for an affordable dental treatment plan for your husband., I suggest the following options to you which can really help you out:

1. Try to contact the local dental society in your area and see if there are any charitable organizations or foundations that will do your treatment for a reduced fee. They can also help you finding a doctor for your emergency services.

Here's the link for the contact details of Dental Society in Kansas:

2. He can also consider getting treatment from a dental school in or near by your city. The charges are lesser here than those charged by any private practioner. The treatment here is rendered by dental students under the supervision of skilled dentists.

Here is a link with the list of all the dental schools in the USA, There is a dental school in North Carolina too, the contact information is given in the link:

Dr.Hans, Masters of Dental Surgery
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 644
Experience: 11 years of clinical experience in diagnosing and treating problems in oral and dental health.
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