I have a tender lump in my gums above my top left incisor. I noticed it a year ago. My dentist says it is a chronic, benign abscess. The lump is the same size and does not hurt. However, it is obvious when I smile. Because I questioned my dentist, she referred me to an endodontist who said it could be a cyst or an abscess, but the X-ray didn’t indicate it. The endodontist can do a root canal or go through the gums and bone at the root. I’m undecided because the dentists do not know what is beneath my gums. What if it doesn’t heal, and I need an extraction and dental implant? I have holiday plans and hope I won’t need to see a dentist in Georgia. Thank you. Miguel from IL
We understand your concerns, especially if the dentist and specialist are unsure about the lump in your gums. Although the lump may be a cyst, gum cysts are rare. You likely have an infection that will resolve with root canal treatment. An apicoectomy isn’t necessary unless the endodontist is sure you have an abscess and he cannot treat the tooth with standard root canal therapy.
Unfortunately, your dentist has observed the infection for two years without recommending treatment. Bacteria from an abscess can affect your jawbone, other teeth, and your bloodstream. When the endodontist removes the infection, you may feel more energetic. A lingering tooth infection can tire you as your body fights it.
Root canals have at least an 85 percent success rate. The success rate is higher for endodontists and dentists with advanced root canal technology in their offices. If the root canal fails, you can get an apicoectomy later.
If you are uncomfortable with your dentist’s and the endodontist’s advice, you can get a third opinion from an endodontist from another office. With planning, you can avoid an out-of-town emergency dental visit for root canal therapy.
Sugar Land, Texas, dentist Dr. Siny Thomas of Cornerstone Dentistry sponsors this post.