Updated: Apr 28
A hole in the gums behind your molar is a tell tale sign of an erupting wisdom tooth. That wisdom tooth may or may not be impacted. You won't be able to tell just by looking at it but it can be confirmed with a dental x-ray. That means you'll have to make a trip out to see your dentist.
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What does it look like?
This dental condition literally looks like a black hole in the gums behind your molar. The hole isn't actually black but due to where the hole is located, it may appear dark because the light doesn't reach it very well. This is all because it is behind the very last molar in your mouth and that simply makes it hard to see.
The size of the hole in the gums may vary from person to person but it all depends on how erupted the wisdom tooth is. There isn't much more to it, except that it is a hole and it is located behind the last molar in your mouth. It can happen to your upper jaw or your lower jaw.
This dental condition is not isolated to a particular jaw because most people have four wisdom with one in each corner of their mouth. Although having a hole in the gums on the lower jaw is much easier for one to see in the mirror as oppose to having it on the upper jaw.
What are some of the symptoms?
The appearance is an obvious sign but there are usually some symptoms which are associated with this dental condition:
Feels like a hole if you run your tongue over it
Food gets trapped inside the hole
Foul odor coming from the hole
Redness and inflammation around the hole in gum
Sporadic pain that may come and go on its own
Diffuse jaw pain on the affected side
Will the hole go away on its own?
Unfortunately, the hole in the gum behind your molar will not go away on its own since the source of the problem stems from an unerupted wisdom tooth. This means that as long as the wisdom tooth is present, the hole will always be present.
With that said, the hole in your gums may never get smaller but it can however get bigger. The hole can enlarge over time if the wisdom tooth is not impacted and it is trying to erupt. As the tooth erupts more and more, the hole will get bigger and bigger.
You can see in the two pictures above which are 6 months apart. Initially it was a small hole and then it got bigger.
The reason is because the wisdom tooth inside the hole may erupt out of the gums. It certainly does not get smaller because teeth don't un-erupt themselves over time.
How to get rid of that hole in your gums behind the molar
Since the cause of the problem stems from an erupting wisdom tooth, the only way to get rid of the hole is to have the tooth removed. Yes, that means you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a wisdom tooth extraction. That is literally the only permanent fix or cure to the situation because there is no home remedy that can make a wisdom tooth go away.
What to expect at your wisdom tooth removal appointment
Due to the fact that you can't really see the tooth inside of the hole in your gums, it is still mostly impacted. That means your general dentist will most likely give you a referral to see the specialist, an oral surgeon for the wisdom tooth extraction.
The extraction for this situation will definitely be more involved when compared to one with a fully erupted tooth because the gums are covering the entire tooth. The surgeon will have to open up the gums in order to gain access and be able to visualize the wisdom tooth.
This is how the procedure will most likely go:
Apply numbing gel. This step is to help pre-numb the area in preparation for the actual injection.
Injection with local anesthetic. Dentists no longer use novocaine but what you'll receive will most likely be Lidocaine.
Scalpel to open up the gums. This step is required to open up the gums so that your dentist can visualize where the tooth is.
Drill away bone. If the tooth is very impacted, it will be embedded in bone. That bone will need to be removed in order to get the tooth out.
Elevate the tooth. This step involves an instrument that get get underneath of the tooth and get it out by using leverage.
Grab the tooth with forceps. The last step is to deliver the tooth by gripping it with some forceps and remove it from your mouth.
Irrigate the socket. The hole will be full of debris from the tooth and from bone particles. The irrigation is to flush out all of that debris and to rinse the socket.
Stitches. Since the gums needed to be cut and opened up, you will need stitches to close the hole back up.
Place gauze in socket. Afterwards your dentist will show you how to place gauze over the socket and bite down on it. The biting pressure helps to stop the bleeding.
After that, all you need to do is to go to the pharmacy and pick up whatever prescription your doctor prescribed you. Make sure you follow the instructions as stated!
Home remedies will not make the hole in your gums behind the molar go away per say but what it can do is help alleviate pain. Since there is an actual hole in your gums, food can easily get lodged inside of it and cause a lot of inflammation as well as pain. You may even notice it bleed if you brush over it.
Therefore in order to prevent the hole from getting inflamed, you must keep it very clean. This means you have to remove all food that gets stuck inside of it. Here are some tips that you can use at home to keep it clean.
Brush. Make sure you brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes and twice a day at that. The mechanical brushing motion will help remove most of the food. It is okay to lightly brush over the hole to remove any food that may be on the surface.
Rinse. Use a mouthwash to gargle and swish around with vigorously. The rinsing will help to dislodge any food that may be stuck in your mouth. Some common rinses that you may use are salt water, Listerine, or even coconut oil for oil pulling. In fact, the longer that you rinse the more likely it will be for you to dislodge any stuck food.
Water flosser. Instead of using regular floss, which won't work for the hole in your gums. You can use a water flosser to help irrigate the hole and flush out any food. All you have to do is to aim the water flosser into the hole and squirt water into it.
The water flosser is probably the most effective way for you to clean out the hole in your gum. The only caveat is that you do need to be able to see the hole so that you can aim the flosser into it. If you're not able to get access to the hole, you may be out of luck. The reason is because the wisdom teeth are located at the farthest depths of your mouth and consequently the hole will be really far back and hard to get access to.
A hole in the gum behind your molar is most likely a wisdom tooth that is attempting to erupt out of the gums. If you've never had your wisdom teeth removed, that would be the most likely reason. However, if you already had them taken out years ago you should schedule a consultation with your dentist to see what else it could be.
Nonetheless, the vast majority of the time that hole does belong to a not so innocent third molar. The only way to get that hole to close is by having the molar removed and your dentist can do that for you. Home remedies will not permanently fix the hole but it may offer pain relief.
Last but not least, don't forget to go in for your dental check up and cleaning every 6 months! However, if you're up for getting the wisdom teeth removed, don't hesitate to consider us.