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Ask Dr. George McKee Your Own Question
Dr. George McKee
Dr. George McKee, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 1396
Experience:  Licensed dentist with 30 years clinical experience in general practice and cosmetic reconstruction.
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I have a pain/ache in my top and bottom gum on the left hand

Customer Question

I have a pain/ache in my top and bottom gum on the left hand side of my mouth. The pain is concentrated mostly around 1 tooth on the top and 1 tooth on the bottom. Any suggestions as to what the problem is?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 9 years ago.

HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on Just Answer. The other Experts and I are working on your answer. By the way, it would help us to know:

Can you describe the pain in more detail? Is the tooth sensitive at all to hot, cold, biting pressure or sweet things? Is the pain constant or does it come and go? Does the swollen gum bleed at all? Is the swelling all around the tooth or just on one side?

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

The teeth are not really sensitive to hot and cold in so far as neither temperature make the pain worse. Sometimes drinking warm liquids can easy the pain for a rew moments. They are slightly sensitive to biting pressure. The pain comes and goes. I had it a few monts back for a few days and it was gone until yesterday. There is occasionally minor bleeding when brushing. The gum is not swolen.

Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 9 years ago.

Dear ,

Thanks for the additional information. That really helps. I suspect that you have a decayed area on one of the teeth you are referring to. It is most likely on the side of the tooth in between its adjacent partner, where you can't see it. The decay is large enough to be getting close to the nerve and explains the off and on symptoms you describe. I highly recommend that you get to your dentist soon and have this taken care of. At this stage you probably only need to have a filling placed but waiting too long will allow the decay to advance to the nerve of the tooth, necessitating a root canal.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any concerns regarding this issue that I have not addressed, please let me know and I will get back to you with more information.


George McKee DDS

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

So why is the pain coming and going then? Why is it not there all the time and why is it spreading through the entire gum?

Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 9 years ago.

Dear ,

Dental decay is a bacterial invasion of the tooth structure. These bacteria will metabolize the sugars in your diet and excrete an acidic substance as a waste product. These acids are what cause the pain to the nerve. The closer the decay is to the tooth, the more consistent and prolonged the pain. The gum swelling can be the reaction of the tissues in between the teeth to the jagged edge of the decayed enamel.

You could also have a gum infection, although I suspect the decay is the problem. Without seeing your tooth in person, it's difficult to say for sure. If this is a gum infection, you probably have some food debris wedged in between your teeth that you can not remove or have some calcium (tartar) deposits on the root of the tooth under the gum irritating the tissue and causing it to swell.

I hope this helps.

SIncerely, ***** ***** DDS

Dr. George McKee and other Dental Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Went to see a dentist today. He x-rayed the tooth and found there was an abcess present at the base. I will have to have root canal treatment. I have been put on Antibiotics (Flagyl and Calvepen) and am due for the treatment in 2 weeks time. I have taken 2 of each pill so far but the pain has not eased. Would it be ok to take Panadol or similar pain killer as well as the antibiotics?
Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 9 years ago.

Dear ,

I'm just curious if your dentist told you why the tooth had an abscess. Was it from decay?

To answer your question, yes you may Panadol or any other over the counter pain medication in combination with the antibiotics. If these do not help with the pain you will have to ask your dentist for a prescription for something stronger, which he should have given you along with the antibiotics, in case you needed them. I hope this helps.

Sincerely, ***** ***** DDS

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
It was from a fracture in the surface of the tooth caused by an accident over a year ago. He said that the pain in the bottom gum is as a result of the infection on the top. Is this common? Also, is root canal treatment severe and painful? I believe that it is 90% successful.