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Bump on gum, maybe caused by bruxism? Extraction?



Junior member
Jul 30, 2019
United Kingdom
Hi - first post here, though I have lurked on and off over the years.

I have always clenched/grinded my teeth throughout adulthood. I went through a particularly bad phase last year and was given a biteguard to wear at night. However, I still had problems a few months ago with the grinding putting pressure on a particular tooth (back upper molar), which then developed a lump on the gum above the tooth. When I saw the dentist, she said the lump was caused by the grinding and I could either just keep an eye on it or have it extracted; I chose to just 'wait and see' as I am terrified of extractions.

Fast forward a few months and the bump is still there. It just will not go away despite bonjela, salt water rinses, TCP, corsodyl. I don't think I'm grinding my teeth anymore, so I thought the lump would subside, but it hasn't. It's not painful at all but I'm now getting concerned it's something more serious.

I've booked an appointment with the dentist next week but I'm terrified she will say I need an extraction. Last night I woke up several times with thoughts racing around my head about the extraction. :cry: All I have been able to think about today is tooth extractions. I KNOW I'm obsessing and being over the top but I can't stop these racing thoughts. Googling dental cysts hasn't helped either, funnily enough.....because now I'm stressing about hospital referrals and jaw operations.:cry:

I faint at the sight/thought of blood and I think I'm more scared of fainting than the actual extraction. I'm actually scared of panicking in the chair while she is in the middle of doing the extraction.

Is there a chance that it may not need extracting and can be sorted with antibiotics? Or, if the lump has been there for months does it now mean that the tooth is dead? I know my dentist will be able to answer all this but just hoping someone will say something to stop my mind obsessing because I'm just driving myself potty!

Many thanks
The bump could be a bony protuberance caused by the grinding, basically the body responds to the trauma of grinding by "building up" some extra tissue to deal with the stress. Bit like how your muscles get bigger when you work out :)
If that is the case then they can take years to go away but they are totally harmless, no surgery required.
It doesn't feel bony as such. If I push on it with my tongue it feels sensitive (but not painful), and it has occasionally flared up after a meal - gotten a bit bigger and more sensitive. But then the next day, it's back down to its 'normal' size.

Can my tooth be dying (or dead already), but without causing me pain?
If it's fluctuating like that then it's probably an abscess "pointing" out through the gum. Yes, teeth can quietly die off without causing any pain at all. If the area is draining out through the gum then it most likely won't hurt at all.
So, I have been to the dentist and she has told me it is an infection in the sinus area of the tooth (not the sinus/nasal cavity). She said that as it is between the 6th and 7th molar she can't say with certainly which tooth is causing it. She doesn't want to extract the 7th molar, because if that doesn't solve the problem then it means she will have to root treat the 6th molar and that would be excessive treatment, given that there is no pain.

I asked if antibiotics would clear it up and she suggested that it is best to treat it topically - so salt water rinses and diluted Listerine rinses.

She took an x-ray and the infection is contained and draining away, so my body is basically 'taking care of it' via it's natural resistance.

She said that I am still grinding my teeth. She said I may not feel it, however my cheeks don't lie. Does anyone know what this means - abrasion on my cheek area (which I can't feel)?
Not a dentist, but just wanted to offer support. Do you still wear your night guard? I have no answers to your questions, but I do know that I was clenching my teeth for years before I even knew I was doing it (cracked my molars). I would get these ridged areas on my cheeks that didn't hurt, I guess from sucking in my cheeks when I clenched my teeth. They never hurt but the dentist mentioned them a few times. I have a night guard now and it has gotten better.

I hope your dentist can get the infection sorted out. I had an abscess on my front tooth that was discovered last year. My tooth died slowly and I had no idea, as there was no pain. I discovered the abscess when the infection caused pain under my tooth when I bit down.

I hope your dentist can figure out which tooth is the issue.
She said that I am still grinding my teeth. She said I may not feel it, however my cheeks don't lie. Does anyone know what this means - abrasion on my cheek area (which I can't feel)?

Some people have a kind of "biting marks" on the inner side of their cheeks as they bite on it while clenching/grinding at night. It sounds like your dentist spotted signs like that on your cheeks.