Gum Flap Over Wisdom Tooth & What To Do About It

February 15, 2024

Do you have a gum flap over your wisdom tooth? Known as an operculum, the gum flap can develop over teeth that are partially erupted or teeth that do not have sufficient room to grow. In some cases, you will need to get the piece of tissue removed to avoid some problems. In this blog, we will talk about the gum flap over a wisdom tooth and what you may need to do about it.

Some Background on Operculum

The muscular flap covering the opening of your tooth is known as an operculum, and it is made of gum tissue. By the time your wisdom tooth comes in, all the teeth have already erupted, and sometimes, your mouth does not have enough space to accommodate additional molars. In that case, the gum flap might cover the wisdom tooth if it is impacted or even partially erupted. The operculum forms a protective coating over your tooth, but it can get inflammation or infection that leads to pain and swelling.

You will require professional treatment that involves removing the gum flap in order to treat the underlying issues with the wisdom tooth. In case the wisdom tooth is severely impacted or causing more problems, your dental specialist might suggest wisdom teeth extraction.

Why You Need to Remove the Gum Flap Over Wisdom Tooth

Generally, dentists recommend removing the flap of gum tissue or operculum on the wisdom tooth. The dental professional might remove the operculum during the extraction procedure, which provides access to the tooth. By removing the flap, the dentist can properly clean the extraction site.

You might be wondering why the dentist cannot just leave the gum flap in its place. To answer, the gum flap on your wisdom tooth could interfere with the healing process. Moreover, it can increase the risk of infections and other complications. The operculum makes it hard to keep the back of your mouth clean. As a result, it traps bacteria and food particles, which can lead to an inflammatory condition called pericoronitis. If you have this condition, you may notice bad breath, pus, pain when eating, and other symptoms Therefore, you will need to address the gum flap before it leads to complications!

Treating Gum Flap on Wisdom Tooth

The dentist will evaluate your tooth to see which operculum treatment you need. You may be able to get the gum flap to fall on its own with lukewarm saltwater rinses. When you rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day, it can help soften the operculum.

The dentist also might give you a topical medication, such as an antimicrobial or an anti-inflammatory. This way, your healing process speeds up, and the medication might encourage the operculum to fall off.

There are times when the operculum will require surgical removal. The dental professional will make a small incision in your operculum and remove it in a gentle manner.

Final Word

A gum flap on your wisdom tooth will need to be evaluated by a dental professional. The gum flap, or operculum, can cause complications, such as inflammation and infection. You should consult a dentist to determine which treatment is right for you and prevent further issues.

At Bay Colony Dental, we help you embrace a healthy and beautiful smile. You can get in touch with us at (281) 337-9000. Dr. Arpitkumar Patel holds a Bachelor’s in Dental Surgery from India, and he even earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the well-respected Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, located in New York. He is committed to providing quality and safe dental care to his patients!

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