Pain in the rear (of my gums)
February 8, 2007 1:29 AM   Subscribe

My gums hurt. A lot. What can I do?

I had all my wisdom teeth removed (first operation on the upper, and last on the lower two), and the guy on the lower two did a pretty lousy job by my reckoning: there are huge pits on the far side of my lower molars and I do have some irritation from time to time (the operation was years and years ago).

Nearly two weeks ago, I noticed very faint irritation in my gums, right where it meets with my right rear molar. Since then, it's gotten worse to the point that it's really making it hard to focus. It is the first thing I feel when I wake up (it seems worse in the morning as well).

From previously I now know that Amosan might help in healing this if it's the result of some kind of injury to the gum, but I wonder if something worse is happening, like a serious infection or some sort of weird jaw thing. When I look at the affected area it appears swollen and red, not white.

The catch is I'm in Egypt, so I imagine that it will be slightly more difficult for me to get the standard kind of medicines. I've heard the dentists here are fine, and I'll go to a dentist if that's what it takes, but I'd prefer to heal it myself if possible.
posted by Deathalicious to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
Best answer: There's a cream called Bonjela that my girlfriend uses when her gums hurt. She rubs it on there and then after a short while they stop to hurt. Since you're in Egypt you may need to find some way to import it. The internet, which you clearly have access to, is probably a good start.

That's probably more of a stop gap solution to your problem though. Sounds to me like the only real solution is to get more surgery from someone who knows what they're doing to correct whatever the original guy fucked up.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:38 AM on February 8, 2007

Best answer: Herbal remedies such as clove (which my dentist uses to numb areas) should be readily available in Egypt — but clove will only treat the symptom, the pain, and not what might be causing it. Get thee to a dentist. If you have something seriously wrong with your gums you could lose your teeth.
posted by Brittanie at 2:09 AM on February 8, 2007

Best answer: Knowing nothing about your dental hygiene or the way your body works (some of us make more plaque & tartar than others) and the fact that it can be hard to get in their and clean the teeth/gums in the back of the mouth, I'll just throw out that you might hurt because of plaque or tartar build up. I can't remember which it is, but my gums can start to hurt due to build up. A good cleaning and I am back in business.
posted by nnk at 2:35 AM on February 8, 2007

Best answer: I find rinsing with boiled salty water helps. Let it cool to a temperature that's drinkable but still hot, and you'll get some pain relief, and the salty water helps control any infection a bit. Would also second the clove oil thing.
FWIW I've had this off and on a few times over the years since my wisdom teeth came through, and I still have all my own teeth, though once it was bad enough to make me take antibiotics.
posted by Abiezer at 3:27 AM on February 8, 2007

Response by poster: UPDATE: I stopped by a pharmacy and was given Oracure (Lidocaine and cetyphyridinium chloride). The pharmacist said if symptoms don't clear up in 2 days I should go to the dentist.

I received a cleaning very recently (in November) although it is very possible that there has been buildup since (I am not the best when it comes to taking care of my teeth).

I'd forgotten about clove oil, though I do remember hearing about it. I did try hot salted water one night with no real effect, but perhaps I should give it more time.

Is there anyone on metafilter who is a dentist? It'd be kinda cool to know what I might have so I can tell the dentist.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:52 AM on February 8, 2007

Are these huge pits where the wisdom teeth used to be? Because it sounds like you have "dry socket", which is when the blood clot that forms after the wisdom tooth isn't big enough or is accidentally flushed out (by you rinsing or brushing, or removing the temporary dressing too soon). When this happens it delays healing and really hurts. You should really book at dentist appt and have them check for dry socket, because if you have it they need to treat it with a medicated dressing. It's possible they won't heal, if that's what these pits are, and that can lead to all kinds of complications.
posted by zarah at 4:38 AM on February 8, 2007

which is when the blood clot that forms after the wisdom tooth is removed isn't big enough.

< / sleepy
posted by zarah at 4:39 AM on February 8, 2007

Like zarah, my first guess was dry socket as well. Although, I've never heard of it taking a couple of years for the symptoms to manifest themselves.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:12 AM on February 8, 2007

My story*
Removal of the wisdom teeth left a little volcano shaped hole in the bone, and the edges broke off, and then bone chips worked out. It took a couple of weeks to come out and went on for about 25 years. I have a palatal torus, which may make you more prone to that sort of thing. The dentist said when you get pressure on the tissues, the gum cuts off the bottom of the chip and it works its way out. (I presume this process involves osteoblasts or something.) About the time it got unlivable, I would wash my hands and claw it out with a fingernail, and yes, the dentist let me. He said they could cut it out, but it was a lot more expensive and took a while to heal, and my way was just as effective. If this is what you have, you should be able to feel something sharp coming out shortly. I only mention it because you can ask the dentist if you have it, when you end up going. IANAD, YMMV, if you do this and get gangrene, don't call me.

*which is intended to imply it may not be your story
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:17 AM on February 8, 2007

Best answer: If you have suffered from the symptoms for over two weeks this means that your body is unable to correct the malady on its own. Since you indicated that the area is red and swollen we can probably assume that an infection has set in. If you are not careful this bacteria can enter your bloodstream and present a whole host of problems that you would rather avoid. My recommendation is go to the dentist today. The time that you have spent over the last two weeks suffering from the issue has got to equal the price of a short trip to the dentist.
posted by bkeene12 at 5:28 AM on February 8, 2007

I have had an experience similar to unrepentanthippie's in that for a few years after my wisdom teeth were pulled I would occasionally have a chip of what I assumed was the root of the tooth work its way out of the gums with some mild accompanying irritation. I can imagine the irritation would be worse if there were som pre-existing gum disease due to poor brushing and flossing habits. Of course, the only way to know for sure would be to see a dentist.
posted by TedW at 5:29 AM on February 8, 2007

Response by poster: I do have large pits in the back of my mouth but I suspect it has to do with the surgery itself. I did fully heal but too much was taken out of my jaw for there to be a smooth surface. I treated my upper wisdom teeth in exactly the same manner and they turned out fine.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:30 AM on February 8, 2007

Response by poster: I was thinking about going to the dentist anyway but with everyone's encouragement I'm going ahead with it. I'll wait to see what the dentist says before handing out stars.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:31 AM on February 8, 2007

i had the same problem once i found that regular flossing and mouthwash worked to reduce the inflammation nicely.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:58 AM on February 8, 2007

I still have my wisdom teeth, much to my dentist's chagrin. Every once in a while, my gums start to hurt back there, indicating an infection. I rinse with hydrogen peroxide solution for a couple of days, and I get better.

Full instructions: pour a little hydrogen peroxide in a cup, pour in a little water, and swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds or so. Spit it out. Pour some plain water in a cup. Swish it around in your mouth for another 30 seconds or so. Repeat a few times a day for a couple of days.
posted by liet at 1:20 PM on February 8, 2007

Response by poster: UPDATE: I did finally go to the dentist and she didn't find anything specifically wrong beyond an infection. She prescribed some antibiotics and some kind of mouthwash that disinfects and removes tartar/plaque. It actually already feels a bit better. I have a follow up on Wednesday; doubtful anyone is still reading this but for archival purposes I'll post the final result at that point.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:51 AM on February 10, 2007

That sounds very similar to my experience the one time I ended up taking antibiotics, Deathalicious. I found I was almost right as rain in 24 hours or so. Glad to hear you're on the mend.
I was interested that you said you'd recently(ish) had your teeth cleaned. My bad infection cam not long after my first ever cleaning. Left me wondering if somehow that cleared the decks for some new infection that my immune system wasn't used to to take up residence and go wild.
posted by Abiezer at 12:34 PM on February 10, 2007

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