Popcorn is a fairly healthy snack, but it can cause serious problems for your teeth and gums. If you've gotten a popcorn kernel stuck under your gums and haven't been able to get it out, you need to go to a dentist right away. Read on to learn what your dentist will do to get the kernel out.
Cleaning Process & Manual Extraction Attempt
When you explain your problem to your dentist, the first thing they will do is examine your mouth and attempt a cleaning. If the kernel is partially extruding from your gums, they may be able to remove it with a dental tool. However, if it's completely under your gum line, a thorough cleaning may be able to help.
Dental cleanings can help to bring down the inflammation in the gums, allowing the kernel to slide out. It can also help your dentist to gain some clearance to slide a dental tool like a gingival stimulator or dental scaler under your gums to remove the kernel. However, if that fails, surgery will be necessary, as popcorn kernels don't break down if they're caught under the gums. An infection could result if it's not removed.
Locating the Kernel
If the kernel is completely hidden under your gums, your dentist will first need to locate it to determine where to perform surgery. In some cases, your dentist may be able to feel the kernel by palpating your gums. If they can locate it this way, they'll be able to proceed with surgery right away.
If your dentist can't palpate it, an ultrasound or x-ray may be necessary to pinpoint its location. Your dentist will perform this step in order to minimize the amount of gum that they have to cut into in order to access the kernel.
Once the popcorn kernel has been located under your gums, your dentist will begin the surgery. Your gums will be thoroughly numbed with novocaine, or if necessary, you'll be sedated for the procedure.
Your dentist will thoroughly sanitize the area and then make a small incision into the gum tissue in order to pull it down and away from your tooth. This will expose the kernel, which can then be safely removed from your mouth. Your dentist will most likely inject your gum with an antibiotic in order to help beat any infection that the kernel may have caused. Following that, your dentist will put the gum tissue back in place and carefully suture it back together, allowing it to heal back into one piece.
Thankfully, popcorn kernel removal is a relatively minor dental surgery, and it's one that can be avoided in the future. Work with your dentist to improve the health of your gums in order to help prevent popcorn kernels from sliding under your gums in the future, or cut popcorn out of your diet in order to avoid this problem from happening again. Contact a business such as DSW Dental for more information.