What can cause pocketing in the gums?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 22, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My sister is 81. She has pockets in her gums. Her complaint for months has been that there is something like a chain (small beads with a cross on it maybe)that is stuck in her gums. She says she has seen the chain, but it is wound tight and she can't get it out. She is afraid of swallowing it some night when she is sleeping. She gets obsessive with trying to get it out. She went to the emergency room one time and they took x-rays, but found nothing. She says she wants to get it out to prove to everyone that she is not "crazy", and that it is actually there. She lives alone. She seems to otherwise be very rational about things. She is lonely, however, and does not have a car right now to even get out to a drug store, and has to depend on favors from others. Something may be wrong with her gums because of the pockets. A dentist did not see anything either, by the way. Could this be the start of dementia? Or could there actually be something in the mouth like at the base of the teeth that could come out in what might look like beads? An old infection, maybe???

Expert Answers

Dr. David Blende, DDS, has more than 20 years' experience providing comprehensive dental care. His practice, the Blende Dental Group, serves the phobic, disabled, geriatric, and medically compromised communities through sleep dentistry. A division of his practice, Bay Area House Call Dentists, delivers dental services to senior communities and private homes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This sounds like an unfortunate circumstance for your sister. I always encourage patients to get a second opinion. In your sister's case, I would recommend that you use a dentist who has had additional training with the geriatric population and would take the time to really listen to her and see if he can identify the source of her concern.

There is a possibility that this could be Morgellons disease, or that it is a symptom of the onset of a form of dementia. It is also possible that she has extensive calculus at the base of her teeth. If those teeth are getting loose or mobile, she might perceive this as a ragged chain-like series of beads encircling her teeth.

Call locally for a house call dentist who can best advise her in her own home with another family member present.

Community Answers

Smithdavidus answered...

As per the American Academy of Periodontology, serious bacterial infections that destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth are responsible for gum diseases. You can find every detail and preventive measures of gum diseases by reading the article archive of FreeDentistFinder: http://www.freedentistfinder.com/articles/159/Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Gum-Disease.html

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