My husband recently said that he has a little pimple on him gum on the upper left, above his molar. Is this something that needs an emergency dental appointment? Karen
There are a couple of possibilities for a pimple on the gums. If it is near the root tip of your husband’s molar, it is most likely from a tooth abscess. When a tooth gets infected, the pulp eventually dies and the infection festers inside the tooth, spilling out bacteria into the bone. The infection in the bone then looks for a place to escape, and it will often try to drain through the gums.
While this wouldn’t be considered a dental emergency, it would need attention. If untreated, the infection can spread into the surrounding bone. It can also begin to dissolve away the roots of that tooth. It is unlikely that the tooth will be hurting, for two reasons. First, the tissue inside the tooth is dead, so it has no feeling. Second, while an abscess around the end of a tooth can cause the tooth to be painful to biting, since this infection has found a pathway to drain, pressure isn’t building up. Though my guess is that your husband has some mild discomfort to biting on this tooth, assuming that it truly is an infection and not just some little growth on the gum.
It’s Important He Doesn’t Put This Off
The tendency for men is to “tough it out” and hope it goes away. This won’t go away. And while the tooth will need a root canal treatment, I would tell him not to worry about that. Since the tissue inside the tooth is dead, the dentist could probably do a root canal without any novocain, since there is no feeling in it. I expect it will be a completely painless procedure. The dentist may still want to make the tooth numb, and may put your husband on some antibiotics to get the infection completely under control before starting treatment and to help insure that there is no post-operative flare-up.
It’s always better to take care of these things sooner rather than later. Better a root canal treatment and dental crown than to need a tooth extraction and replacement.
If the Tooth Can’t be Saved
There’s always a chance, depending on how long this has gone that the tooth can’t be saved. In that case, you’ll need to look at tooth replacement options.
Two of the best are to get a dental implant or a dental bridge. A dental implant is the better treatment, but it is more costly than the bridge.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Dentist Dr. Ryan Noah.