Sore Tooth and Strange Looking Gum

sore tooth and strange looking gum

This question from Sean about a sore tooth is a good example of what happens when something hurts or feels funny.

It makes you want to look in the mirror to see what the problem is.   

You notice things you never saw before.  

And it can be worrisome.


Sean's question

Hi, I have a strange gum and tooth problem.

I'm 23 and reasonably healthy except this morning when I woke up, one of my top front teeth was sore and pretty loose. 

After checking in the mirror, I discovered a very large dark red band covering my whole upper gums starting about halfway between my teeth and the top of my mouth and stretching all around to either side. 

I'm not so worried about the tooth as much as I am about my upper gums this has all happened overnight.

What is happening to my mouth?

My reply

Hi Sean, I can't tell you for sure, but there are a couple of possibilities.

The loose, sore tooth could be from clenching and grinding your teeth. This habit almost always occurs while you sleep and most are not aware of it.


You will have a better idea if you keep noticing the same problem.  

Once you are aware of this possibility, it's easier to know for sure.

You can read more about teeth clenching and grinding here.

The red band could be the normal color of your gum tissue.

Gums are normally light pink near your teeth and higher up (or down for your lower teeth) gum tissue looks red.


There is usually a line where the pink firm gum tissue ends and the redder cheek tissue starts.  You probably never noticed it before because you never had a reason to look.  

If you are concerned or if you have any other symptoms a quick trip to the dentist will be helpful and is the only way to know for sure. 

If either problem gets worse, or doesn't resolve in a few days you should see a dentist.

Hope that helps,
~Shelly

Sean's reply

Thank you very much Shelly, you are totally right.

I didn't notice until I was actually reading your reply, but you are 100% accurate.

I have been grinding my teeth and not even noticing it, and I think being perplexed and freaked out about the sore tooth.

I saw my gums and without a second thought started believing something was very wrong with me.  

Thank you so much for the reassurance.

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