A piece of gum missing above molar
by pose, Feb 16, 2013

I noticed ~4 days ago some tenderness above an upper molar on the right side of my face (#13 I think). I continued to brush the area, perhaps even more than usual. Today I looked in my mouth, and noticed that an entire little piece of my gum is missing right at the gum line. It is somewhat circular, and is about 3mm in size. Where there used to be gum, there is now only tooth (i.e. the entire tissue of that little area is gone). It is not necessarily discolored -- though there is a minuscule area of scab from brushing. If I feel the area with my tongue, it just feels like an abnormally long tooth.

What happened? What should I do? Will this go away??

I use no tobacco products, I'm a social drinker, I brush daily but do not floss. I use a soft bristle brush. I do not have access to a dentist at the moment due to travel.

Thanks much!
by Jerome Tsang, DDSBlank, Feb 16, 2013
Probably nothing to worry about right now at the moment since you're traveling but once you get back, I would recommend seeing your dentist.

You may have what we call gum recession.  Basically the gums have receded and has exposed the root of the tooth.  This may be possible to correct with gum surgery but you need to discuss with your dentist.  

It can be caused by hard brushing or aggressive brushing of the area.  It can also be caused by a bite problem in which you put extra stress on the tooth causing it to crack/chip away at the "neck" of the tooth where the gums are.

If its due to the bite, then the bite needs to be corrected otherwise the problem will reoccur.

Member Comments (3)
by pose, Feb 16, 2013
Thanks for the reply. I do have a grinding/clamping issue at night, and often neglect to wear my bite guard.

Should I continue to brush the area normally, or should I "skip" that area until it heals? Unfortunately I will not be back home for a couple of months.

Is mouthwash or any OTC stuff helpful for this?

by Jerome Tsang, DDSBlank, Feb 18, 2013
OTC stuff probably won't help too much.  If you have some sensitivity it may help a little.

I would recommend normal brushing and flossing of the area.  It sounds like you're careful with it so don't overdo it but you definitely want to keep it clean to prevent any cavities or gum disease still.

Wearing your bite guard would probably help the most