Do you know that you can develop a Gum Abscess in the gums?

A gum abscess is a pocket of infection on the gums or the space between the teeth and the gums.

It is important to note that bacteria can reach the due to a dental abscess or another oral hygiene issue like periodontitis.

However, gum abscesses are slightly different from a dental abscess.

Though they may share some of the symptoms and treatment options.

Moreover, some people may develop a tooth abscess that affects the area surrounding the tooth.

But sometimes, it can form on the gums. Also called a periodontal abscess, a gum abscess can be a painful condition that can even lead to serious complications.

Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a gum abscess and get medical treatment if you develop one.

Keep on reading to learn more about them.

Gum Abscess

A gum abscess is an infected pocket of tissue in the gums.

Your mouth and gums normally contain both good and bad bacteria, however, a buildup of bad bacteria contributes to plaque and tartar.

This can lead to tooth decay and other dental issues.

If bad bacteria find their way into an area of open tissue, they can take over, multiply, and cause an infection.

moreover, your body responds to this by sending white blood cells to fight the infection.

In order to do so, they will cause swelling to try to cut off and eliminate this bacteria.

This results in a swelling, a painful pocket of pus: An Abscess.

It is important to note that there are two types of gum abscess: Gingival and periodontal.

  • Gingival Abscess only occurs in the gum tissue and does not involve the teeth at all. They may occur if a sharp piece of food gets lodged directly into the gums and cause an infection
  • While a Periodontal Abscess occurs in the space between your teeth and the gums. These are more common if you are among people with periodontal diseases. Though they may also develop due to injury or food getting stuck between the teeth and gums.

Causes of Gum Abscess

A gum abscess can occur when the bacteria in your mouth causes an infection in the space between the teeth and the gums.

While some gum abscesses can also result from periodontitis disease that occurs due to poor oral hygiene.

Periodontitis disease is an inflammatory condition of the gums that can develop when plaque accumulates under your gums.

The plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria.

When you do not remove it from the teeth through regular brushing and flossing, an infection can occur in the surrounding tissue.

This can result in the formation of an abscess.

gum abscess causes

However, a gum abscess can occur due to a deep periodontal pocket.

A periodontal pocket is a space that tends to develop around your teeth from gum disease.

Bacteria can live in these spaces. If food and plaque become embedded in this space, the bacteria can thrive.

Furthermore, having a weaker immune system can also contribute to the formation of a gum abscess.

This happens because your immune system is unable to fight off infections.

Certain factors that can reduce the defenses of your body are tiredness, stress, or having a chronic illness.

Other Causes

Some other risk factors for periodontal diseases that can potentially lead to gum abscesses are:

  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • arthritis
  • heart disease
  • hepatitis C
  • hormonal changes in females.

Moreover, some illnesses, certain medications that can disrupt the flow of saliva, and genetics can lead to periodontal diseases.

Symptoms of Gum Abscess

The main symptom of a gum abscess is pain and swelling in the area. Depending on where the abscess is located along the gums.

And it may also cause pain when you chew or bite down.

Moreover, you may notice a lump or bulge in the area of the abscess that causes pain and pressure.

gum abscess symptoms

You may also experience the following:

Furthermore, sensitive teeth or gums, a receding gum line, and fever are the signs and symptoms of a gum abscess.

Gum Abscess vs. Dental Abscess

Strictly speaking, a gum abscess occurs in the gums, while a tooth abscess occurs in the tooth itself.

However, there is some overall in both the conditions.

For instance, a periodontal abscess often affects both the tooth and the gum.

Moreover, in some cases, an infection in the tooth and pulp can lead to an infection in the gums.

This can be a tooth that has a large cavity or decay in its roots, which creates spaces within the tooth and surrounding tissue for bacteria to multiply.

At other times, however, a deep gum abscess can get worse and begin to affect the tooth and pulp, the innermost part of the tooth.

Your dentist may refer to several abscesses in the mouth as “oral abscesses: and they will identify and treat each type of it.

Diagnosing a Gum Abscess

In case you experience gum pain, tenderness, or taste pus in your mouth, do not ignore these signs.

Make an appointment with your dentist or seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Your dentist will be able to identify gum abscesses or make another diagnosis, based on the symptoms you experience.

During the appointment, your dentist may examine your gums and look for the signs of an infection.


Moreover, these include pain, swelling, and redness. Along with visual observation of your gums, your doctor may order a dental X-ray.

A dental X-ray will help check for periodontal disease or an infected tooth due to pulp infection.

Additionally, an X-ray can also help your doctor assess whether you have bone loss from the infection or not.

Symptoms of a gum abscess may improve slightly in time, however, even if an abscess ruptures and drains, you should still see a dentist to treat the infection.

Treatment Options

One of the important things to note is that a gum abscess will not completely heal on its own.

Moreover, it is important that you see a dentist to begin the treatment.

Treatment for a gum abscess involves draining the abscess and then removing any debris in the periodontal pocket.

Your dentist may also suggest a deep cleaning procedure: scaling and root planing.

With the help of this procedure, your dentist will remove the plaque and tartar from above and beneath the gum line.

Draining the abscess is important to remove the infection and prevent complications.

Furthermore, it involves cutting an incision in the abscess and your dentist can also apply a numbing cream to the area before beginning the procedure.


In some cases, a gum abscess can also affect the pulp of your tooth, which is the center of it.

The pulp is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues.

In case the pulp is affected, you may need a root canal to remove the damaged section of the tooth.


In addition to the above dental procedures to remove and treat infection, your dentist may prescribe a course of antibiotics.

Antibiotics can help with the swelling if your dentist is unable to completely drain the abscess.

These medications can also help prevent reoccurrence and stop the infection from spreading to other areas of the body.

However, if you experience pain, your dentist can prescribe pain medications.

There is no way to treat a gum abscess at home.

To reduce pain and sensitivity until you see a dentist, rinse your mouth with warm salt water or take an over-the-counter medication like iburophen to reduce inflammation.

Complications of a Gum Abscess

Do not ignore a gum abscess. If you do not treat it, the infection can spread deeper into the gum tissues and even affect surrounding teeth and bones.

This can cause an increase in pain and swelling and the infection can travel to other parts of your face and body.

However, in rare cases, a gum infection can travel to the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening complication: Sepsis.

Sepsis symptoms are:

  • high high rate
  • abdominal pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • a temperature above 101˚F (38˚C)

Prevention Tips

In order to prevent gum abscess, practice good oral hygiene to prevent it. This includes brushing and flossing your teeth on regular basis.

Make sure to brush your teeth two to three times a day, particularly after meals.

This can help reduce the amount of plaque that accumulates on your teeth and under the gum line.

Moreover, floss at least, once a day to remove food and plaque, stuck in the gums.

Also, make sure to schedule dental cleanings.

Get your teeth professionally cleaned for six months. Your dentist can observe the health of your teeth and gums and diagnose oral problems early to prevent diseases and infections.


With the help of early treatment, the outlook of a gum abscess is positive. Your dentist can drain the pus and remove the infection, thus, reducing the risk of complications. However, if you do not get treatment, a gum abscess can worsen and lead to a potentially life-threatening infection.

Make sure to consult your dentist or seek medical advice if you develop any pain, swelling, r discharge in your gums.