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Dr. Alex
Dr. Alex, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 1609
Experience:  I am a General Dentist and founder of the American School of Dental Assisting
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My outside gum above my last molar hurts - what is it On

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My outside gum above my last molar hurts - what is it? On my upper teeth, right at the back of my left side (I guess the side is irrelevant), I have a sore patch above the last molar showing (2nd molar), no wisdom teeth either side erupted yet. Dentist told me 10 years back that I only have one wisdom tooth on the upper set but I don't know if it is hidden on this side or the other but as far as I can remember the yet to emerge tooth (whichever side it was) was not impacted (unlike one of my lowers). The gum is sore to the touch, quite high up, almost at the highest point (it feels quite "fleshy" up here and not hard as if against a root). It feels like this above this second molar and not particularly further back. There is not much space at all (feel like) for the wisdom teeth to emerge, I have no lost teeth/gaps. I have no root canal here and I don't think I have a filling here. The soreness is fairly mild and only to the touch. There is NO SWELLING, at least nothing discerable that I can make out, no pus pocket etc. so I don't think it is an infection (I know what an external pus pocket feels like as I have had an abscess before in another part of my mouth, the lower jaw) according to my previous experience of one. What could it be? Wisdom tooth problem? Remember, there is no discernable swelling at all. No deep pain in the tooth. Just gum soreness on the outside and high up (not just above the gumline but maybe one centimetre higher, almost in the crook). If I grimace my face on that side or poke with my tongue I also get the soreness. I am 2 days away from flying home 12 hours so a dentist is not really on the cards. I plan to monitor it and can always get antibiotics I suppose if I develop fever/malaise or swelling occurs. But what do you think it is? Has anyone had these symptoms with wisdom teeth coming through? Whether impacted or not? Or is it trapped food? I find it really tough to clean there, my dentist says it has something to do with the bone of my jaw/face, there is basically no gap to put a toothbrush in there. I have scratched away with my finger and I don't notice any debris. Also, no pain when biting down. No pain in tooth. Just sore gum when touched or my facial muscles contract on that side. thanks. Also, as well as trying to make your best educated guess as to what I have, do you think it is safe to leave it for the 3/4 days it may take for me to see a dentist? What sort of progression might complications take? Would I expect a pus pocket to develop? Greater pain? What are the consequences of leaving this untreated? Could a huge abscess develop that propogates inside my skull, despite the pain being external at present? I want to make sure that, should I need emergency care, that I know what symptoms to recognise.

DR. ALEX :

Great question, let me help you.

DR. ALEX :

What you have is likely a canker sore. Canker sores commonly occur in these areas high above teeth on the fleshy gum tissue.

DR. ALEX :

These occur randomly, and are most commonly a result of stress of some sort

DR. ALEX :

Sometimes it can also be cause by trauma from scraping the area with a toothbrush or fingernail, etc

DR. ALEX :

Canker sores commonly have the same pain you are experiencing. They don't hurt when biting down, but can hurt when moving your facial muscles or jaw

DR. ALEX :

They can big large or small, but even the small ones can be quite noticable

DR. ALEX :

The treatment for canker sores is to wait 7-10 days for them to heal on their own

DR. ALEX :

You can get your dentist to prescribe Kenalog steroid gel to put on it

DR. ALEX :

this helps it heal quicker

DR. ALEX :

but this is not necessary b/c it will heal on it's own

DR. ALEX :

It will slowly get better and less painful, so you should not expect anything to get worse over the next 3/4 days

DR. ALEX :

You will be fine to wait until you see your dentist

DR. ALEX :

but honestly, you don't need to see him for something like this unless it continues to hurt, then he can prescribe the kenalog

DR. ALEX :

No pus pockets will develop, the pain should not get worse, no abcess will develop, and this is not an emergency situation

DR. ALEX :

Thank you in advance for clicking accept

Customer:

Dear Dr. Alex.

Customer:

Thank you for your thorough answer and explanation. I appreciate it.

Customer:

Chris

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