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13 There often occur on the gums adjacent to the teeth certain painful swellings: the Greeks call them parulides. These at first should be gently rubbed over with powdered slat; or with a mixture of powdered rock-salt, cyprus oil and catmint; then the mouth is washed out with lentil gruel, and the mouth is held open at intervals until there has been a sufficient flow of phlegm. When there is still more severe inflammation, the same medicaments are to be used as noted above for ulcerations of the mouth: and between the tooth and gum should be inserted a little roll of soft lint soaked in one of the compositions which I said are called antherae. If the hardness of the gum prevents this, then hot steam by means of a sponge[p. 261] is to be applied outside, followed by a cerate. If suppuration shows itself, the steaming is continued longer, and hot honey wine in which a fig has been boiled down is held in the mouth; and before the abscess is quite mature it should be cut into, for fear that the bone may suffer if the pus should be retained longer. But if there is greater swelling, it is better to cut all away so as to free the tooth on both sides. When the pus is let out, if the incision is small it will suffice to hold hot water in the mouth and to foment externally with its steam; if it is larger, lentil gruel should be used, and the same medicaments as for the treatment of ulcerations of the mouth in general. There are also other ulcerations, mostly arising in the gums, for which the same remedies are beneficial; in particular, however, privet should be chewed and the juice held in the mouth. It happens now and then, whether following a gumboil or not, that a discharge of pus persists from an ulcer on the gum; this is due to either a decayed tooth or to bone that is broken or injured and diseased in some other way, and it most commonly occurs through a fissure in the bone. When this is the case, the place must be laid open, the tooth extracted; any projecting scale of bone is to be removed; and any carious bone scraped away. What ought to be done after this has been included in the treatment of other ulcerations. If the gums have retracted from the teeth, the same antherae are of service. It is also useful to chew pears and apples which are not too ripe, and to hold their juice in the mouth. Vinegar that is not too sharp can also be held in the mouth with similar advantage.
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