Calculus working thru gum??

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Poodle007

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Hi all!

I recently had a really sore spot on my gum after my second molar, on the tongue side. (I do not and have never had a wisdom tooth there.) It started out as a very sharp pain while eating raw carrots one day and so I looked in the mirror and there was a little hole and it was very swollen around it. It hurt when I ate.

I went to the dentist and he took xrays and examined me and said that my lone upper wisdom tooth was digging in to the gum right there as it had grown a very long and sharp point. So he scheduled an extraction and I had that wisdom extracted yesterday.

Well, in the time between the dental appointment and the extraction, I noticed the hole on my bottom gum getting bigger and there was something white and hard in there. Yesterday, I stuck my fingernail under the hard thing and pulled it up a little, and it was very stiff. I thought it almost was a bone fragment or something. So I had my husband look and he grabbed a pair of tweezers and pulled the thing out. It was about two millimeters long and to me it looked and felt like a bone fragment. And it was embedded in my gum. The swelling and pain immediately went away after the thing was gone, but the gum area still looks pretty traumatized, I guess from that thing being in there and causing damage.

Well, I took the extracted "thing" to my dentist today and had them look at it. They said it looked like calculus. Can calculus dislodge and work it's way through your gum? I have been recently been using an oral irrigator and I was wondering if it could have knocked something loose? Also, I haven't had a tooth cleaning in 15 years and I am scheduled for scaling and planing in about twoo weeks.

I am for some reason just worried that the dentist and oral surgeons have been wrong and that this is something more sinister like cancer. I don't have any white spots or anything. Just the hard thing that came out of my gum and the resulting irritation. Please help me I am freaking out and thinking I am going to die.
 
DrMike

DrMike

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First of all- despite being unable to see what it was - I can tell you straight away that you are going to be fine. You said you were worried about cancer but I can say with almost 100% certainty that this isn't the case here.
It is possible that it was a tiny fragment of bone. It also could have been something external which became lodged. If it was calculus- then it may have come from somewhere else and got stuck in the gum.
I think that the tiny bone fragment is most likely- especially as you said it was from the tongue side of the gum. These can occur some time after the removal of a wisdom tooth- or may have been caused by the trauma from the upper tooth.
Your dentist will keep an eye on things and will tell you if s/he has any concerns whatsoever.
Relax- it will be fine
regards
Dr Mike
 
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ricmoh

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Hello,

I found your post by specifically searching the internet for calculus not adhering to tooth, but embedded in the gums. It does not seem to be a condition acknowledged in dentistry, as far as my searching, so apparently it is pretty rare and completely unstudied. I believe that it exists though, as I think I have had an unusually extensive case of it. I hope a dentist here can shed some light.

For background, I had poor brushing habits and did not see a dentist or dental hygienist for many years. I am embarrassed to say that I could go a week or two or maybe more without brushing at all. I lived alone and because I often went for hours without speaking to anyone or opening my mouth, I think in retrospect that aerobic bacteria probably did not grow much in my mouth, though anaerobic bacteria probably thrived. I believe tooth decay was not a problem at that time because the aerobic type of bacteria were thus in check.

One day my Reserve unit said everybody was required to see a dentist for a deployability check up, so I went after many years. The dentist said my plaque/calculus situation was bad so I went back for a scaling. I could tell the dentist was disgusted with my poor hygiene, but I am basically healthy overall so luckily there weren't more serious dental problems, and new decay was minimal after all those years. I had one or two small cavities found, as I recall, which is not too bad after 15+ years of dentist avoidance and poor habits. (My molars have all had fillings in the crown grooves since I was a kid, except the wisdom teeth. I never had had other non-molar fillings or serious restorative work at the time.)

So my dental background was years of poor habits, but for whatever reason, it didn't lead to root canals or losing teeth or anything. Since that checkup I have gotten on the bandwagon and take tooth care seriously.

Anyway, for a long time I had noticed slight sensitivity to pressure in several areas of my upper gums. There seemed to be areas that very slightly protruded and when touched would be tender and slightly painful in proportion to the pressure. It was so mild a tenderness I didn't think anything of it. These spots were along the sides of my upper gums, way up above the toothline. Always on the outside (non tongue side) and never by the front teeth. One such spot had what I thought was a tooth root protruding. It was maybe the size of a grain of rice, tooth-colored and stuck right through the gum. Now I realize a root wouldn't stick out in that spot, but for a long time I thought it was some aberrant piece of tooth or bone. One day when I was touching it, I realized it slightly moved. It wasn't fixed to the tooth, but moved slightly along with the gum. I ended up playing with it and eventually digging it out with my fingernail. I was surprised it was convex and thin - attached to nothing but embedded tightly in the gum. It felt like a big relief to get it out and heal, making me think it may have harbored some low level infection.

Since then I have dug out several more such pieces from these little tender mounds. Though none protruded visibly, scraping away some gum tissue revealed that these semi-hard, flat bits of whitish material were the source of the tenderness and I dug them out. It has always felt like a huge relief to remove them. These pieces were not resulting from any extractions, as I had had no teeth removed and still had my wisdom teeth.

I mentioned them to my dentist and he had no idea what they could be. He said it sounded like nothing to worry about.

My theory is that when I didn't brush for long stretches, food trapped up near the gums eventually turned to tartar, and the gum tissue grew over them. I also believe that these pieces are potentially infected, and should be removed from the gums.

I post in the hope that some dental professional might be familiar with these things and can shed some light!
 
DrMike

DrMike

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Hi there and thanks for your post.
It is a hard one to comment on without having a look to actually see the fragments.
Do you still get these fragments now?
How many exactly do you think you've removed?
One way of finding out for sure would be to send one or two off to be examined under a microscope. Most hospitals (in the UK anyway) should do this for free via your Dr or dentist.
If I was uncertain- that would be my first move as it will answer the question of whether these are as you suspect pieces of calculus, or if they are tiny devitalised bone fragments. I think it is possible to get these tiny bone fragments, even if you haven't had an extraction.
I would be interested to know your full medical history, as there may be some clues there. feel free to personal message me with details of your medical history.
In the meantime, I will speak with some colleagues in Oral Medicine and get back to you with any more info
regards
dr mike
 
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ricmoh

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Thank you Dr. Mike

In response, yes, I still have a few tender, slightly protruding spots I'm sure contain fragments. Spots where I have removed fragments have healed quickly and never produced more fragments. I have kept the fragments I've removed and I have two about lentil sized, five smaller, and three tiny bits.

Also much later, last month at age 44, I had all my wisdom teeth removed. Near the upper left socket I can feel something (hard pieces) in the gums in addition to a piece of root the surgeon deliberately left in place. He said all my wisdom teeth were some of the most stubborn he has ever removed due to very strong bone, and he left a sizable chunk of tooth root in place.

Since the forum is anonymous anyway, I'll just detail my medical history here for you. I have always been healthy and strong constitutionally. My routine lab work at exams always has come up fine. I have never broken a bone or needed emergency care except for a few stitches from minor sports knocks. I've had a polyp removed, and years of chronic constipation (IBD?), but no other significant ailments I can think of. I am not particularly susceptible to colds or flu. I am allergic only to cats, so far as I know. I get a migraine once in great while - not for over a year I would say.

I sure appreciate your help. I could photograph the fragments, although without a close up lens I doubt you would see much.
 
DrMike

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hi there
sorry it has taken a while to get back to you.
I have spoken with a few colleagues, all of whom have said the same thing- they would need to take a look to be able to know for sure! And that the best thing for you to do would be to ask your dentist to refer you to your local Oral Medicine Clinic for a consultant's opinion.
I think that you should get it checked out, while it is unlikey to be anything to worry about, I think that it is important to get a diagnosis so that you know for sure what exactly is going on.
Please let me know how you get on.
Kind regards
Dr Mike
 
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ricmoh

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Dr. Mike,

Today I sent several pieces to my oral surgeon to forward to the lab. I'm very curious.

And this last week I found a very sizable tender spot behind the socket where my upper right wisdom tooth was pulled last month. The surgery has healed just great, but there was a fleshy protrusion sitting behind the wisdom tooth spot like another false tooth (roughly same size, shape and position). So I was feeling it and sure enough beneath the flesh was a hard, sharp edge that caused pain upon pressure. I sort of played with it all week with the result that I uncovered this bonelike/toothlike ridge that was right behind where my wisdom tooth was. It didn't seem right to me, so I worked at loosening it and eventually it came loose of whatever it was anchored to and came out in my hand. What a relief!

Anyhow, these things are nearly all gone now from my gums and it feels wonderful. I really think there may have been some low level infection going on with these things as I really generally feel better than I have felt in a long time!

I'll let you know the lab result. My surgeon says this situation is so unique I may have a new bone-sloughing condition named after me! I said I don't really care unless there is some money in it. :yay:
 
DrMike

DrMike

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I think it still could be linked to the removal of the wisdom teeth, but I think you said that some of the pieces were from quite a distance from where the teeth came out? It is common to get thin pieces of bone working themselves ou after a wisdom tooth removal. Anyway- it will be interesting to find out the results from the tests- please do let me know what they come up with!
regards
Mike
 
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ricmoh

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Some pieces may be due to the wisdom teeth removal but many others could not. My wisdom teeth just came out this October and the condition long predates that. Many fragments came out quite a ways from the wisdom teeth as well. I'll keep you posted - and thanks!
 
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Asher

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Hello-

USA here, and I hope I'm not intruding, but like Ricmoh I happened to be looking for any information on what has recently begun happening in my mouth, and found a good deal of what you describe to be quite near my own situation, so thought it could be of help to us all to pool info so to speak. Briefly my issue is this:

I am a 45yr. old male, smoke & drink coffee like crazy, and had all 4 wisdom teeth removed at once around 18-19 yrs. of age, with no trouble since. About six weeks ago I had the first instance of something feeling fairly hard, sharp-edged and flat (sheet-like) suddenly puncturing from my gums while eating. Once I had removed it I noticed it was a dull translucent gray-white, and stiff but could be flexed. I at first attributed this to most likely having been a small bone shard I ingested from the beef in my meal instead of it coming from within as it had felt like it did. The small cut in my gum closed up quickly and I had no further trouble for 10-14 days; and then I had a repeat occurrence of this, coming from the same area (essentially near what used to be the inner sidewall of a wisdom tooth socket in my lower jaw). But this time it was not one, but several pieces which worked their way to the surface over several days where I could extract them. The material definitely puts you in mind of bone or shell, and it's as if it were delaminating in layers or sheets. Again the eruption stopped and cleared up well, however it began again last week, and I've been digging out slivers all weekend as quickly as they come out, particularly because if they get loose in my mouth they are harder to see & easily start getting swallowed and are a definite irritant, sticking to the throat and esophagus all the way.

My first guess on finding they did not originate elsewhere was that shattered remains from my wisdom tooth extraction (which was a very harsh one) were finally breaking down and coming loose, but the more info I find I'm now planning to seek help, as it could potentially be related to more serious trouble such as osteonecrosis of my lower jaw. I, too haven't seen a dentist in years, primarily because I am self-employed and no longer have any means of keeping any health insurance as costs have rose, but I don't feel I can delay any longer now. So far this is all still emanating from this one single area, however weak gums/teeth run in my family (father and brother both had full dentures by age 24), and I fear this would be inviting any cause or infection to further take hold.

I will also try to return and offer update of the situation as time permits-
Regards to you all-

Asher
 
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ricmoh

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I got the call from my oral surgeon. The result of my fragments biopsy was pieces of bone. I'm surprised as some pieces seemed a bit flexible and flattish. It's good to have an answer. He also told me some bacteria were present. Nothing to worry about though. I hope this may be helpful to others. Thanks for the help, Dr. Mike!
 
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agingteeth

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I'm so happy to have located this source of info. I have been suffering from gum pain for approximately 4 weeks now. Like the other posters, it began as a sore, tender spot on the back gum, which eventually poked through to reveal a bone-feeling substance. After weeks of manipulating it (and one phone call to my regular dentist who said just not to cut or scratch it and "give it a while"), a small bone fragment, approximately the size of a lentil, came out and much relief was felt. The next day, I was seen by my denist, who studied the fragment and agreed that it was probably from my wisdom teeth extraction 30 years ago. (I recall my mother telling me that my teeth were severely impacted, and the oral surgeon had to work quite hard to remove all four).

Now, a week later, another much smaller area became tender and two days later, now it has a hole in the gum and that same bone feeling is present within the gum. I am in a great deal of pain - have taken Ibuprofen, Lortab, rinsed with warm salt water, applied ice chips, to no relief.

Please, any help or advice you could give would be appreciated. I just want the pain to subside while the fragment works itself out and I cannot seem to speed up the process of its removal.

Thank you.
 
Gordon

Gordon

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Get a dentist to remove it for you? It won't take a minute.
 
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rotator

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My case is pretty much the same as Asher's. I'm 48 yrs old and have an impacted wisdom tooth on the side where the bone fragments have appeared. I had my first one about a month ago that felt sharp on the tongue. It eventually fell out with some bleeding. A few weeks later another appeared and again was sharp and fell out. They were the size of lentil as previously descibed. I went to the dentist who hadn't seen this before. There's something there under the gum(after x-ray) that he suspects is bone. Wonder what Asher's outcome was?
 
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pally

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Some years ago I had a sore gum after an extraction and a homeopath friend recommended that I should take homeopathic silica (or silicea). Apparently this helps the body expel anything in the "wrong" place, she did say it's not suitable if you have pacemaker, implants of any sort, replacement joints, etc. but it might be worth asking at your local pharmacy or homeopath if that may help speed it up for you. The bone fragment came away within 2 days for me.
 
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kkim

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Similar thing happened to my gum on lower molar near a wisdom tooth pulled out long time ago. It was on tongue side. The dentist pull it out using a pin set. It was a thin small rice size, and looked like a bone according to him. Feel much better now but still something is poking from inside. He said STRANGE ! I am 53 male.
 
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waggs

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I had my wisdom teeth pulled about 2-3 years ago and had the same thing going on. I had the first piece come out about 3 weeks ago and it was white, flat and had a wood texture to it. Another one is trying to surface now in the same spot. On thing I can recommend is a broad spectrum antibiotic. My wife is a nurse and got some for me and within a few days the pain and swelling was gone even before the bone surfaced. I had a pretty bad infection which made my whole jaw and the right side of my head hurt. I had scaling done prior to all this which may have caused it to work its way out. I have had this pointy lump in the side of my gum for as long as I can remember and have never felt better now that the first piece came out. Brushing and a good mouth wash are key to keeping infection at bay. Good luck everyone, its like teething in your fourties.
 
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OK so I have pretty good dental habits but weak teeth - from a family of weak teeth owners - I brush at least once a day and floss at least twice a week (so not great but not too bad, last extraction I had was in 1986, wisdom teeth emerged fine, barely any pain and no need for removal. I have plenty of fillings and have had two root canals. I still have one baby tooth as the adult one never came down. It's right in the front next to my two front teeth. It's seen better days, and needed a root canal and some fortifying in the early 90s but it does its job and is perfectly fine. The other root canal was where my emerging tooth on the bottom cracked the neighbouring pointy one.

The other day my gum puffed up and got quite sore - in about half an hour I went from not noticing it to it really hurting. I wasn't eating at the time. I pressed on it and a tiny grain of hard white sand looking stuff came out. It was hard like bone. It was in between the pointy one (canine????) and the first molar.

Disgusted, I assumed I needed to floss because there was sand in between my teeth. I flossed and noticed another one slightly bigger came out - definitely without a doubt came from insidethe gum. Immediately the pain went away and I thought it was weird but was glad it was all over.

Two days later, while driving, (again not eating) my gum puffed up again, I was telling my husband about it and pressed on my very swollen sore gum and a piece of bone stuff the size of a grain of rice popped out. My husband said that the same thing happened to him a few years ago and I mentioned it on Facebook and a few others said it had happened to them too. It was half white and half a pale tan colour - very similar to the colour of one of my root canalled teeth. It was a piece of tooth I am 99% sure and it just popped out. The pain went away again instantly. Late last night, my gum started to swell again. This time there seems to be a bit of an infection too. Nothing has emerged yet - planning a dental visit when I have a minute....

So i think it's more common than the dentist here believe.....
 
Aldridge

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I'm finding this thread really intriguing and somewhat frightening because a couple of weeks ago, my gum became sore below the upper right fifth tooth along, on the inside, and I thought I had burnt it eating some food which was a bit too hot. Since then, it's developed into what feels like a hole as if someone's pushed a compass point in there, and last night I thought I could feel something hard in the centre. Well over 40 years ago, the fourth tooth along in that quadrant was removed at a less-than-confidence-inspiring school dental clinic (where my phobia started!) It was a healthy tooth but I think the original plan was to fit braces. Having read all this, I'm starting to wonder if something is emerging! It doesn't feel painful enough to be an abscess; not that I've ever had one yet, but I gather they are really painful. I'm using Corsodyl and it's not getting worse, but no better either. Any guesses? I have to go for a check-up early November; don't know if I should bring it forward now!
 
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happydaze

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Hi. I'm a dentist and I have seen something like this before, a couple of years ago in practice. A middle-aged patient had a few pieces of what later transpired to be bone come out of the tongue side gums near her lower left second molar tooth. The wisdom tooth behind had been removed many years ago. The gum was sore but appeared pretty healthy where the fragments came out. Since then I've seen/heard of other cases, usually soon after tooth extraction but sometimes many years later.

The huge majority of these cases had previously had some kind of trauma, usually an extraction, nearby. I imagine that the original poster, ricmoh, had trauma from the upper wisdom tooth on the lower jaw bone. This could cause the bone to 'turnover' and easily lead to a small piece of dead bone (sequestrum) being lost.

It is unlikely to be calculus forming below the gums and then coming out for two reasons. Firstly, calculus below the gums is always dark brown because it includes broken down blood products. Secondly the body will try to remove an offending foreign body by the path of least resistance. If some calculus was growing on the root of your tooth, under the gum, but fell off then the easiest way out would be out of the gum crevice, which is just a space. To come out the side of the gum it would have to work through solid bone and intact gum.

So it seem that these fragments are like having a splinter, and the body will try to get rid them on its own. If the area is kept clean then infection seems rare (any more then you would take antibiotics for a splinter). Be guided by your dentist, and please don't all rush out and demand antibiotics thinking that it will cure it, because it won't!

Taking homeopathy, or using any remedy at the point where the problem seems acute, and it getting better is nothing but an example of 'regression to the mean' which is the tendency for things to follow a natural cycle. Let's say you have a cold. It's going to get better after a few days, but at the moment you feel miserable. It's quite natural that when your symptoms are at their very worst you will do things to try to get better. You might take a homeopathic remedy. You might rub your face with a hamster. Then, when you get better- as you surely will from a cold- you naturally assume that whatever you did when your symptoms were at their very worst must be the reason for your recovery. But it would have gotten better whatever you did, even if you did nothing! This is a basic flaw in human reasoning called a "cognitive illusion" and occurs because our brains are geared towards pattern recognition. For more myth busters you might want to visit http://www.badscience.net/

Furthermore I can't see an obvious logical reason why all foreign bodies would be affected by such a remedy. Foreign body reactions would be different in bone and soft tissue, so how could a bone splinter and a pacemaker be equally affected?

Anyway, I hope my thoughts have been useful or at least interesting ;)
 
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