Food Compaction Injuries
Injuries to the gums and underlying bone may occur from long-term food compaction between two teeth. At a minimum, these can be very tender, and decidedly inconvenient as the patient is continually having to remove food. Left untreated, permanent damage to the periodontal structures (gums and bone) may result.
Food compaction injuries are often caused by broken fillings or tooth decay that involves the contact area between two adjacent teeth. They may also be caused by tooth restorations (fillings, crowns, etc.) which do not close the space between two teeth, and leave the contact open to food collection (Figure 1). If a patient has periodontal disease, and has deep pockets where the teeth emerge through the gums, food compaction injuries can also occur.