Have you noticed a gum flap over your wisdom tooth? It might seem like loose gum since it moves upon touching. Moreover, you may observe that swelling occurs in the gum flap covering your wisdom tooth from time to time. But is it normal to have this loose gum around your third molar? What even causes it?
Continue reading this article as we will address your questions regarding the gum flap over your molars.
What is the Gum Flap Over Your Wisdom Tooth?
The gum flap covering your wisdom tooth is known as the dental operculum or operculum. This piece of gum covers the back portion of your additional molar. The gum flap covering your wisdom tooth looks exactly like your gums; however, it could become inflamed sometimes. This might cause the gum to appear red and swollen. Moreover, the gum flap varies in size — for some, it might be small, but for others, it could be large.
What Causes Dental Operculum?
The gum flap covering your wisdom tooth appears for a couple of reasons.
Insufficient jaw space can result in the gum covering the third molar from behind, even if they are growing out straight. This means that your jaw’s length isn’t long enough for the wisdom teeth to come in. Hence, the third molars end up getting partially stuck in the gums.
Impaction is another cause of gum flap over a wisdom tooth. Due to the angle of impaction, your third molar might not fully erupt. As a result, a piece of gum ends up covering a part of your tooth. Since impacted molars don’t fully erupt, it might cause some dental health issues. In that case, your oral surgeon might recommend wisdom tooth removal.
Is it Important to Remove the Gum Flap Over the Wisdom Tooth?
The gum flap can become irritated and swollen due to food particles, bacteria, plaque, and more. Unless you get a permanent solution, the discomfort may occur periodically. There are different methods to treat the gum flap over the wisdom tooth, each of which varies in its level of permanence.
You can get a dental cleaning to remove the stuck food particles and debris from the loose gum. Our dentist will remove the irritants using special tools. After the procedure, the dental specialist might flush the piece of gum with an antibiotic solution. Furthermore, they’ll give you an antibiotic rinse prescription to help heal your inflamed gums faster. Keeping the affected area clean, along with some home remedies, can help you with recovery.
Still, dental cleaning and home remedies are not permanent solutions. The gum flap covering your wisdom tooth might cause discomfort again if something gets trapped under it. You can opt for a semi-permanent solution called operculectomy. Your oral surgeon will remove the gum flap, leaving your tooth intact in this procedure. Even though this treatment is effective, the operculum tends to grow back in some cases.
The only permanent treatment for eliminating the discomfort due to an operculum is wisdom tooth removal. Although extraction is not necessary in every case, it helps get rid of the painful or swollen gum flap.
The gum flap over your wisdom tooth could result from insufficient jaw space or impaction. Your dentist can help you with any discomfort it causes via dental cleaning. For a more permanent solution, they might recommend removing the gum flap or wisdom tooth extraction. Our Katy Cypress Oral Surgery team knows what’s best for your oral health. You can take their help by visiting our dental office at 6155 N. Fry Road, Suite 600, Katy, Tx 77449. Or you can dial (281) 667-0607 to book an appointment.