Gum Abscesses: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and More

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: July 29, 2022

Gum Abscesses: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and More

Abscesses form when normal tissue, such as the gingiva, gum disease, and teeth, is split apart and that new space is invaded by nearby pathogens, such as bacteria. In a healthy mouth, normal or probiotic bacteria thrive but do not cause disease, but any cutter breaking the mucous membranes encourages bacteria to dive in there and multiply, going to result in an infection.

Immune cells start releasing tiny molecules known as cytokines in response to an injury, such as transmitter traverses factor interleukin 1, interleukin 6, interleukin 8, and interleukin 17, which appeal neighbouring inflammatory responses.

An abscess in the mouth is a collection of pus that forms around a tooth. A periapical abscess is the most frequent cause of the dental abscess, guided by a periodontal abscess. A bacterial infection that has built up in the tooth's delicate, often dead pulp is the most common cause of a periapical abscess.

Tooth decay, fractured teeth, or significant periodontal disease can all contribute to this (or combinations of these factors). A similar abscess might result from a failed root canal treatment.

It's similar to yelling for help and being heard by nearby cops. Furthermore, the centre types dilate and leak nearby capillaries, bringing more blood to the site and allowing immune cells that do show up to easily slip out of the blood and into the tissue. Neutrophils are the first immune cells to arrive on the scene.

They produce chemicals and enzymes that kill themselves as well as the bacteria they consume, resulting in a pool of dead bacteria in cells. This is a type of acute inflammatory response known as separative inflammation, which simply means that macroscopic passes are formed during the process. Because the area of dead tissue initially turns to liquid, this is sometimes referred to as liquefactive necrosis.

Even though the pus is largely dead material, there are still plenty of live bacteria within the pus, making it very infectious if it is spread from one place to another.

There Are Some Other Dental Abscesses That Are Present.

Periapical Abscess

A chronic, localized infection that develops at the tip, or apex, of a tooth's root. 

A tooth abscess, which is a pus-filled pocket, is caused by a bacterial infection. An abscess can form in various areas of the tooth for a variety of reasons. A periapical (per-e-AP-ih-kul) abscess forms at the tip of the root, whereas a periodontal (per-e-o-DON-tul) abscess forms in the gums along the side of the root. The information presented here is limited to periapical abscesses. An untreated dental cavity, an injury, or previous dental work are the most common causes of periapical tooth abscess.

A tooth abscess is treated by a dentist who drains it and removes the infection. They may be able to salvage your tooth with a root canal, but the tooth may need to be extracted in some circumstances. Untreated dental abscesses can result in significant, even life-threatening problems.

Abscess begins when bacteria enters the dental pulp of the tooth through an opening caused by dental caries or trauma. The inflammation then spreads and causes necrosis or tissue death throughout the entire length of the dental pulp. If left untreated, the infection eventually reaches the apical framing of the two; and the infection eventually reaches the periapical tissues; and at that point, the tooth is considered a pickle.

Titus, which is inflammation of the periapical tissues that maintain the tooth in its socket, usually develops into an Abscess as the plus coalescence and can involve nearby structures such as the alveolar bone and adjacent teeth. On Titus, which is inflammation of the periapical tissues that secure the tooth in its socket, the infection usually develops into an Abscess as the plus coalescence, and it can involve nearby structures such as the alveolar bone and adjacent teeth, sometimes peria, and it is made reference to as acute abscess.

Periodontal Abscess

It is a type of infection that starts in a periodontal pocket.

A periodontal abscess is a small collection of pus that communicates with the oral cavity via the gingival sulcus or other periodontal sites and does not originate in the tooth pulp. Periodontal abscess is fairly common and has a negative impact on the prognosis of the tooth. Periodontal abscesses can develop as a result of chronic periodontitis, but they can also develop in the absence of periodontitis.

A periodontal abscess is a pocket that drains both the periodontal tissues and the gingiva. Abscess occurs when bacteria enter a periodontal pocket that already exists, such as from a deep black collection or a surgical operation, and multiply, resulting in an infection and an Abscess.

Gingival Abscess

It is a type of abscess that affects the gum tissue solely and does not damage the tooth or the periodontal ligament.

One of the five types of dental abscesses is gingival abscess. Bacterial infection caused by tooth decay, hard brushing, fractured teeth, food lodged in the gum line, or bleeding in the gum line causes this. Gingival Abscess can also be caused by traumatic damage or severe orthodontic stress on the teeth. The diseased area becomes sensitive, and pounding pain develops. Abscesses primarily affect the gingiva and adjacent bone, sparing the periodontal tissues. This usually happens when food or another foreign object becomes lodged in the gingival sulcus, providing a haven for germs.

Pericoronal Abscess

It is a type of abscess that affects the soft tissues surrounding the crown of a tooth. Pericoronitis and pericoronal abscesses are most commonly caused by a partially erupted or impacted third molar (wisdom tooth). 

Pericoronitis and subsequent abscess formation are caused by the collection of food and debris between the overlaying gingival flap and the crown of the tooth. The gingival flap becomes irritated and inflamed, and the opposing molar tooth continually traumatizes the tissue. An abscess might occur if the irritated gingival process becomes infected.

Abscess develops when the tooth does not fully erupt, leaving a flap of gingival tissue over the top of the crop, and when food or another foreign object becomes severely stuck between the flap of gingival tissue and the top of the tooth.

Periapical Abscess and a Periodontal Abscess

Have merged to form a combined periodontic-endodontic abscess. Localized, confined areas of bacterial infection arising from the dental pulp, periodontal tissues surrounding the afflicted tooth or teeth, or both are referred to as combined periodontic-endodontic lesions. 


When germs infect the dental pulp — the interior part of the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue — a periapical tooth abscess develops. Bacteria enter the tooth through a dental cavity, a chip, or a crack, and spread all the way to the root. The bacterial infection can cause swelling and inflammation at the root's tip.

Abscesses contain a variety of microorganisms. Summer facultative anaerobes, the streptococcus anginosus group, and the veridian's group of streptococci prefer to make energy using oxygen but can also survive without it. Others, such as the fuchsia bacterium and the prevotella groups, are obligate anaerobes, meaning they can only survive in the absence of oxygen.

Factors At Risk

  • These variables are enough to develop the cause of abscesses in your mouth: 
  • Tooth decay, gum diseases, and tooth abscess are the problems that occur when there is a lack of dental hygiene
  • Such as not taking care of your teeth properly and not brushing your teeth twice a day after waking up and before going to sleep
  • We love sweets, soft drinks, and sodas, but if it is taken in an unlimited manner so it may lead to cavities and abscess. 
  • You have a dry mouth. Teeth decay can be exacerbated by having a dry mouth. Dry mouth is common as a side effect of certain drugs or as a result of age.
  • Bacteria enters the tooth through a dental cavity, a chip, or a fracture in the tooth, and travels to the root. The bacterial infection can induce swelling and inflammation at the root's tip, leading to abscess formation.
  • Dental surgery complications—complications from dental surgery might potentially be a serious factor.
  • Dental trauma frequently leads to a dental abscess.
  • Brushing and flossing vigorously—doing both of these things on a regular basis can help. 


The symptoms of abscess is generally categorized into three categories we have such as 

  • Local
  • Generalised
  • Severe cases

Local Symptoms

The local symptoms include pain and swelling


The pain of abscess is not as usual as you think. It's continuous, extreme, growing, and causing pain in a series of regular beats. It's like dancing to continuous beats in that area. 

The pain may get higher when you are eating or drinking something warm and get touched so, that time it's really painful, and you also have not to put any type of unnecessary touching and continuously putting pressure because it may also cause pain which is intolerable and it does not get transferred through all your face. Area of upward and downward. 


The Swelling part is the worst. It may swallow your cheeks, and it looks so awkward and horrible when you go outside to the office and workplaces or shops, so it feels so embarrassing during that time. The Swelling of abscess is a swollen pus-filled lump under the surface of the skin that swallows your lymph glands which are present in the neck and cause infection. 

Actually, the abscess in our body is sometimes difficult to find out in which area of our mouth is affected so swelling and pain is kinda helpful or sometimes embarrassing during abscess infection. The Swelling may occur at the base of the tooth, gum, or swallow your cheeks, but ice packs may reduce your swelling. 

Ice Packs help with some dental issues also, and it's like a gel pack which may also give you some relief during the pain also, but as I mentioned, don't pressurise that area so much! Because it is unbearable to touch. 

Generalised Symptoms

The generalized symptoms of abscess include: 

  • Fever 
  • Malaise

The symptoms of abscess is caused by The Pus, which is present in swallow-pus filled lump under the skin. The pus includes Dead tissue, Cells, and Bacteria. Our body may produce pus when they fight the infection caused by bacteria. 


You may feel ill during the fever symptoms of abscess because you notice that your skin gets warmth and red skin around abscess. The infection gets deeper tissue so you feel like a fever. 


In abscess the symptom malaise, the internal infection which cannot be seen or on the surface of the skin. Malaise is described as feeling ill, and the overall is a weakness that feels like discomfort. 

Severe Cases of Abscess

  • Persistent
  • Throbbing toothache
  • Breathing problem


Persistent is the term that is used when the act goes on in a continuous manner. In this case, the infection is stubborn and does not get treated for 1-2 weeks. So, It may cause a severe case. 

Throbbing Toothache

Throbbing toothache, as I mentioned above, this throbbing meaning as dancing pain beats on your mouth is going on. 

Toothache cannot cause some severe problems, but it gets very painful when swallowing something hard, flossing or something gets stuck in between your teeth.

Breathing Problem

In abscess another severe case is breathing problem, which is actually caused when you have flu or cold. Your nose gets blocked! In other ways, your nasal passages for allergies and viruses enter into lungs. 

It may cause sinusitis. It makes it hard to breathe through your nose for 1-2 weeks until inflammation eases or the sinuses get congested and begin to drain. 


In the diagnosis of the abscess can be done when we feel these two main feelings 

  • Areas of tenderness
  • Fluctuance

Areas of Tenderness

In medicine that should not be confused in finding the affected area. Tenderness is pain or feeling discomfort when that part or area gets in touch or pressurized. 


Fluctuance is the term which is actually used as a medicine and can be described as the tense area of skin which is wave-like pulp. This is actually a swallow pus-filled lump that is accumulated beneath the epidermis layer of the skin. Thus pus is needed to adequately because without this process of adequate, the pus will continue in the accumulated form and lead to severe conditions or cases. 

The diagnosis can be done to find out the exact location and size of the affected area; 

  • X-ray
  • CT-scan

Although both X-ray and CT-scan are used to diagnose the dental abscess. 

  • The X-ray is used to find out the exact location of the affected area and used to check if it may cause the other areas or not! 
  • The CT Scan is used to check the spreading area, other areas get affected too because of the pus, within the neck
  • A CT- scan may be used to check and identify how much the infection is caused by the other areas also. 

The abscess is not easy to go away, so, Whenever you feel like one symptom also, just go to your nearby dentist. If your dentist isn't able to diagnose your abscess then they'll refer you to the endodontist, who's an abscess tooth specialist. They can surely help you with this. 

Change Your Lifestyle And Some Home Remedies

After seeing the dentist, the affected area might start to heal and they recommend these steps to follow properly; 

  1. Rinse your mouth properly 2-3 times a day with warm salt water. 
  2. Take your pain relievers on time, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, other) and ibuprofen (advil, motrin ib), others as needed. 


Antibiotics can cure infection, but for antibiotics, they need to reach to the bacteria. They process their way through the bloodstream as oxygen flows through our body, but unfortunately, in abscess the bloodstream doesn't work! 

In fact, antibiotics can even work better, especially when there is a large abscess that may reach the edges, but for the fight, they have to go into the middle and kill the bacteria from inside. So, that is why the treatment for abscess is incision and drainage. 

This process is like cutting, opening, and removing the pus. This is followed by saltwater rinses, and pain-relieving medications. You also have to be conscious about your medicines which are prescribed by dentists, and take them from time to time for faster treatment. Otherwise, this may happen again in the future. So be careful about future loss as well. 

Medical Treatment 

The medical treatment includes the drainage process. The doctor will open the abscess and drain it by the following points below; 

  • That area should be numbed because it is very painful otherwise to feel every pain, but anaesthesia will work and will be almost painless the rest of the procedure. 
  • The affected area will be covered with some antiseptic and sterile towels placed over there. 
  • The doctor now will cut and open the abscess and drain almost all pus and debris will come out! 
  • Then, the sore is drained out, and the doctor inserts some packing into the cavity to allow the rest of the infection to drain out. It takes 1-2 days to complete. 
  • A bandage will be put all over the area, and the doctor will give you some prevention for home care. 
  • Most people start feeling relieved immediately. But if you still feel the pain so the doctor will prescribe pain pills for home use over the next 1-2 days 
  • You are sent home with some antibiotics and medication prescribed by the dentist. 

Abscess Treatment: Self Care

  • You need to apply a warm compress to that affected area about 3-4 times in a day if your abscess is small or tiny ( less than 1 cm or half) 
  • Don't squeeze or pressurize that area because it is usually gonna increase your problem! It doesn't drain out your infection, but also force can be infectious to deeper tissues. 
  • Don't stick a needle or any type of sharp tool into the abscess core can risk injuring an underlying blood artery and spreading infection. 

When to Seek Medical Care?

You are always confused about how to understand that this is the right time to seek the dentist! In the following symptoms of an abscess so that you can contact your doctor right away.

  • If your sore or abscess, which is greater than 1 cm in diameter
  • When your sore gets longer time and gets uncomfortable or painful                             
  • Your rectal or groyne area getting painful or near it 
  • Red is the best indication that illness is spreading

In the above points, if you have any symptoms like this so, go to your nearby dentist! It's an emergency! 

If you have 102 degree of high fever, if you have a chronic illness, or you are using steroids, chemotherapy, or dialysis. 


  • Keep yourself hygienic. Wash your skin with soap and water on a regular basis.
  • Whenever you are shaving your underarms or public area, you have to be careful not to Nick yourself
  • If you have a puncture wound, seek medical treatment right away. Especially when if you suspect that there is debris, feel like
  • A bite from a human, insect, or animal, produced a puncture on it
  • Now you have your medical conditions listed above 
  • You are either going for chemotherapy or through steroids! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible for a tooth abscess to heal on its own?

A tooth abscess, also known as a dental abscess, is a type of infection that does not heal on its own like other diseases. It necessitates the assistance of a dentist. An abscess, if left untreated, can spread the infection, causing more complications, including potentially life-threatening effects.

How long does a tooth abscess last before it needs to be treated?

Finally, an untreated tooth abscess might last for a year or longer if it is not treated. However, such longevity is linked to serious problems, including sepsis or even death. Make an appointment with a dentist today and get the care you need right away!


So, you all know about abscess, their common symptoms, treatment, and causes which may help you out to treat in a manner way and all you need to do is kindly take care of your teeth and take proper dental checkup so that you may not be in those painful or severe conditions. 




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