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Hole In Gum Where Wisdom Tooth Is Growing: What to Do

A hole in the gum where a wisdom tooth is growing is a tell-tale sign that it may be trying to erupt through the gingiva. That is the same process that all of your teeth took to come into your mouth.


hole in gum where wisdom tooth is growing lower left side

Now whether or not you need to do anything about it would depend on your particular situation and the condition of that third molar.


Table of contents:


Why there is a hole in the gums

There is a hole in the gums where the wisdom tooth is growing because it is trying to erupt out of the gums. The tooth is currently still submerged beneath the gums and in the jaw bone but it is attempting to come out.


This is the same pathway that all of your teeth took to erupt into your mouth. That includes all of your permanent teeth and your primary baby teeth.


Appearance:


The gum hole doesn't necessarily need to be directly behind your last molar. It could be located off to the side such as closer to your cheek. If it is very buccally located, you could consider it as a cheek hole.


Will the hole get bigger?

The hole in the gum from a growing wisdom tooth may or may not get bigger. It all depends on whether the tooth is impacted and if you have enough space in your jaw to accommodate this additional molar.



When the hole in gum will get bigger:

  • If the wisdom tooth is not impacted.

  • There is enough space in your jaw for another molar.


When the hole in gum won't get bigger:

  • The third molar is impacted.

  • Not enough space in your jaw for more teeth.


sideways impacted wisdom tooth bitewing x-ray
What a hole in gum where wisdom tooth is growing would look like on a dental x-ray

The only way to know what will happen is if you see your dentist and get an x-ray to visualize how it looks. You won't be able to tell the orientation of the tooth and your jaw with just your naked eye.


 

What should I do?

The best thing which you can do for small gum holes caused by growing wisdom teeth is to get it examined by a dentist. You won't know if the tooth will grow in straight or if it'll stay impacted. If it is the former you may not need to do anything but the latter will require treatment. It all depends on the condition of your wisdom tooth.


Potential wisdom teeth conditions:

  • Not impacted.

  • Partially impacted.

  • Fully impacted.


Typically for wisdom teeth that are growing in, the only way to determine if they're impacted or not is by getting an x-ray.


Panoramic x-ray of impacted third molars
Panoramic x-ray of impacted third molars

Potential treatments

You may or may not need treatment depending on how impacted that molar is but there are also other factors which your dentist takes into consideration.

  • Not impacted. If they are not impacted there is a chance they will erupt into the mouth straight. What that means is you may not need to have them removed and you can leave them as is because they will grow in just fine.

  • Partially impacted. If they are partially impacted, we highly recommend removing them because these tend to cause problems. The gum hole is a food and plaque trap which will often swell up and become inflamed.

  • Fully impacted. Surprisingly, fully impacted third molars don't always need to be extracted. They tend to stay dormant and quiet more often than their partially impacted brethren. However, there is one situation where the oral surgeon may not want to remove these and that is if they happen to be close to your tooth nerve. The potential for nerve injury during the extraction may not be worth the risk.


 

Can I leave it untreated?

Whether you can leave them in your mouth would depend on the condition of your third molar. If they're symptomatic you may want to have them taken out because it affects the quality of your life. Although if they're asymptomatic, it may be up to you to decide with your dentist.


Nonetheless, you should take into consideration the consequences of not taking them out.

Consequences:

  • They are a potential source for infection and pain.

  • Pericoronitis - the gums can swell up and become inflamed.

  • They become more difficult to extract as you get older.

  • They make diagnosing tooth pain more challenging.


More difficult to extract later on

The best and easiest time to remove wisdom teeth is while you're younger such as in your 20s. Once you get older, your bone becomes more dense and the roots of the teeth will fully grow out, which makes them more difficult to extract.


There is also the fact that if you end up with bone diseases such as osteoporosis, it will make extracting teeth much more difficult. Oftentimes, these bone medications prevent you from getting extractions.


Ultimately, you just recover better from surgery while you're younger because when you get older, people tend to accumulate health issues. This makes recovery slower and the healing process will be more delayed.


Obfuscates toothache diagnosis

There will be many situations where you're having a mysterious toothache and your dentist can't figure out what it is. It's not helpful when you have all of your wisdom teeth still in your mouth because they can be potential suspects.


If you have all of the third molars removed, your dentist can easily rule out wisdom teeth as being the cause for your tooth pain. It simplifies the diagnosis and evaluation.


Takeaway

If you have a hole in your gums from where the wisdom tooth is growing, you should have it evaluated by a dentist. Depending on whether the tooth is impacted or not will determine if you'll need a wisdom tooth extraction.


The quicker you find out the status of that tooth, the faster you'll have your answer at least that is in the opinion of our dentists in Long Island City.

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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