Q. My gums behind the last tooth is swollen and painful. Is it due to food impaction?

Answered by
Dr. Shamaz Mohamed
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 22, 2017 and last reviewed on: Jun 26, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am an 18 year old, who dislikes visiting the dentist. Therefore, you can imagine my hygiene is very good. I had a brief period of gingivitis as a result of using braces for three years. Having removed my braces over a year ago, and lucky for me, I do not have wisdom teeth, the end of my dental pain seemed over. However, about five days ago all of a sudden, I woke up and the very back of my mouth around the last left molar is swollen. It is sore and irritable. I kept brushing and using salt water. There is no bleeding or pus, but it started to feel more irritable and tender as if it was an infection. It has not gotten worse in swelling or pain, but it has not gotten better either. My mother predicts a piece of food of some sort got wedged in the gum line, near my tongue. We have tried using Orajel to numb it enough so I could use floss or a toothpick to work around the gum, but it still is very painful to touch and it is very hard to reach that area. Sadly for me, I am starting my Invisalign treatment and I am going to get the impressions tomorrow. And I also have an appointment for a regular cleaning. I am petrified. Do you think a piece of food is the problem? Is there something I can do to remove the food before my appointment tomorrow? What will the dentist do tomorrow when I ask him to address the situation? What are the chances this is a bigger infection and is not food related, what will the dentist do then? Will I have to have surgery or procedure done or antibiotics will help?



Welcome to

  • I feel that there could be an infection around the gums, probably due to some food lodgement or other foreign particles. I predict infection due to the duration of five days, which is sufficient for it to initiate.
  • As you are going for a regular cleaning, you can be assured it will be removed and probably an antibiotic like Metronidazole may be suggested to you. I do not predict surgery for this condition.


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