Everything You Need to Know About Gum Abscess

gum abscess

What is a gum abscess? 

An abscess in the gum is a large, painful pus pocket. It looks like a pocket/pouch around the tooth. 

Gum abscess is categorized by an infected pocket of tissue in the gum. White blood cells are sent to fight the infection by the body. To do so, they will create swelling in an attempt to cut off the bacterium and destroy it. An abscess is a large, painful pus pocket that develops as a result.

What causes gum abscess? 

Both beneficial and dangerous bacteria can be found in the mouth and gums, causing gum abscess. Plaque and tartar are caused by a buildup of harmful bacteria, which can lead to tooth damage and other dental problems, such as gum abscess. 

If bad bacteria get into an open patch of tissue, they can take over, reproduce, and cause an illness, mostly resulting in gum abscess.

What are the different types of gum abscess1

 The two most prevalent types of gum abscesses are gingival and periodontal abscesses.

Gingival abscesses: 

Abscesses that only damage the gum tissue are known as gingival abscesses. They don't have anything to do with teeth at all. If a sharp piece of food gets lodged in the gums and causes an infection, then an abscess  can form.

Periodontal abscesses:

Periodontal abscesses arise in the area between the teeth and the gums. They're more common in those with periodontal disease, but they can also happen as a result of an injury or food being stuck between the teeth and gums.

Periapical abscess:

A third time of gum abscess is periapical abscess. A periapical abscess is a pus-filled collection at the root of a tooth that is caused by an infection that has migrated from the tooth to the surrounding tissues.

What are the symptoms of gum abscess? 

A gum abscess is characterized by discomfort and swelling in the affected area. When a person chews or bites down, the abscess may produce pain depending on where it is positioned along the gums.

A lump or protrusion in the abscess area that produces discomfort and pressure may be noticed.

The individual may also have the following symptoms:

  • a terrible taste in the mouth 
  • gums oozes 
  • teeth or gums that are sensitive
  • gum-line that is receding 
  • a high temperature

How can we treat a gum abscess2

  1. Treating gum abscess requires a dentist’s intervention. 

    Draining the abscess and eliminating any impurities from the space between the gums and the teeth are both part of the treatment for a gum abscess. To drain the swelling region, the dentist may make a tiny incision. They may merely apply pressure on the area when the abscess is open and discharging pus to allow the pus to drain completely.

    An X-ray is usually ordered by dentists to assess if the abscess has caused any bone disintegration. Bone loss can occur as a result of a severe infection or if the gum abscess is left untreated for an extended period of time.

    A root canal treatment  may be required if a gum abscess affects the inner pulp of the tooth.

  2. An intake of antibiotics3 is needed for treating abscess. 
    Antibiotics are also an important part of the usual treatment for a gum abscess.

    Antibiotics can eliminate the bacteria that are causing the infection and prevent it from spreading or re-infecting the area. This may also help to relieve swelling and pain in the affected area.

    Antibiotics, on the other hand, are not a substitute for dental repair and will not cure the abscess.

  3. You can resort to home remedies. 

    A dentist may also suggest some easy at-home therapies to assist alleviate the symptoms. Pain and swelling can be reduced by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water might also help to relieve pain and sensitivity.

    It is noteworthy to mention that home cures may help manage the symptoms, but the bacterial and pus-filled pocket will need to be treated by a dentist.

    In more technical terms, 

    • Treating a periapical abscess: the abscess will be removed through root canal treatment. To allow the pus to escape, a drill is used to create a hole through the dead tooth. The pulp will be cleaned of any damaged tissue. The space is subsequently filled with a root filling to avoid further infections.
    • A periodontal abscess is treated by draining the abscess and cleaning the periodontal pocket. Scaling below the gum line will then smooth up the surfaces of the root of the tooth. This aids in the healing of the tooth and the prevention of additional infections. 

In conclusion, the easiest way to save yourself from the trouble of gum abscess is to maintain good dental hygiene4 by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Look no further: Listerine® has the right mouthwashes for you to maintain an unparalleled oral hygiene! 

Do not forget the importance of getting a dental checkup once or twice a year, seeing a dentist if you have swollen gums or tooth discomfort, limiting your sugar intake, and avoiding smoking.


  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tooth-abscess/symptoms-causes/syc-20350901#:~:text=A%20tooth%20abscess%20is%20a,side%20of%20a%20tooth%20root.
  2.  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10943-abscessed-tooth
  4.  Nguyen, D. H., & Martin, J. T. (2008). Common dental infections in the primary care setting. American family physician, 77(6), 797-802.