A tooth or gum abscess is a painful infection that occurs between a tooth and the gum or at the root of your tooth. It can be a swelling full of pus. Pus is a thick fluid that is yellowish in color. The swollen area will continue to swell if it is not possible for the pus to drain. Though painful, it is still a good thing as it contains the bacterial infection such that it will not spread.

Types and Causes of Tooth and Gum Abscesses

Tooth decay is a well-known cause of a tooth or gum abscess. Gum disease or gingivitis, and trauma to your tooth, for instance when it is chipped or broken, are other known causes of the problem. Such problems could result in openings within the tooth enamel making it possible for bacteria to infect the pulp.

Periapical Abscess or Tooth-Related Abscess

This takes place inside the tooth and shows up at the tip of the root of a tooth. Severe tooth decay is a common cause of this problem. With the root of your tooth infected, there is a chance that such an infection could spread the bones that support the tooth.

Periodontal Abscess (Gum Abscess)

This can be caused by foreign materials such as food that is trapped between the gum and the teeth. Bacterial within the mouth or these foreign materials may start causing inflammation as well as infection within the protected pockets under the gums causing an abscess to develop.

Symptoms of Tooth and Gum Abscesses

In most cases, people with severe abscess know right away as it is always painful. In fact, it could be one among the most painful dental conditions. In addition to that, it develops quite quickly. However, this is not always the case, It could arise as a result of a simmering infection, which builds up over some long time. A continuous, severe toothache that causes some throbbing/gnawing or shooting/sharp pain is a popular symptom for the problem. The following are other symptoms of tooth or gum abscess:

  • Teeth sensitivity to cold or hot
  • A bitter taste in your mouth
  • Swelling or redness of your gums
  • General uneasiness, discomfort, or ill feeling
  • Unpleasant smell to your breath
  • Pain when chewing
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Fever
  • An open, draining sore on your jaw side
  • Swollen region of the lower or upper jaw

The root pulp could die because of the infection. As a result, the toothache may disappear. This should not stop anyone from calling a dentist for an appointment or withdrawing from dental care. This is because the infection still remains active. It will still spread to other tissues destroying them.

What to do if you Have a Tooth or Gum Abscess

An abscess is a serious condition considering the chance that the infection could spread to other body parts. It is always advisable that you seek dental advice after noticing one or more of the aforementioned symptoms. As you wait for a dental appointment, use mild saltwater solution to rinse the mouth a few times throughout the day. This assists in drawing out the pus and relieving the pressure. Painkillers can help with the pain. Though these could be helpful, do not ignore seeing the dentist. Make sure to visit the dentist as soon as possible in order to ensure that the problem doesn’t develop into something more severe than it already is!

Procedures for Oral Abscesses


To diagnose this issue, the dentist is going to probe the teeth with some dental instrument to identify the problematic tooth. There may be some pain when the dentist’s probe taps the problematic tooth. The dentist could ask if pain increases upon closing your mouth tightly or biting down. Always answer honestly about how you feel. Red swollen gums could be another way for the dentist to tell if you have an abscess. An x-ray could as well be taken for the dentist to look for erosion of the bone near the abscess.


A canal therapy can be done to drain the abscess. After the infection subsides, a root surgery may be performed for removal of any diseased root tissue. The dentist may place a dental crown over your tooth. Extraction of the tooth could as well be done making it possible for drainage via the socket. Incision into the gum tissue that is swollen can still be a way of draining the abscess. The dentist will prescribe some antibiotics to assist in fighting the infection. As mentioned earlier, salt water rinses and painkillers can help relieve discomfort and pain. The low-level laser can as well be used to relieve the pain and inflammation of an abscess such that a patient can be comfortable while receiving an injection.

Any person with teeth can develop dental abscesses whether an adult or a child. However, such a problem could be to some extend prevented through good oral hygiene and taking care of your gums and teeth. Remember that seeking dental assistance after any tooth trauma is always a smart move.