What is Gum Boil/Abscess: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Every one of us may notice some boils on our body, like the pimples on the face or boils formed due to summer heat. Similarly, gum boils are seen beneath your gums that may cause intense pain and, if not treated on time, may result in tooth loss.


What is a gum boil?

A gum boil/abscess is a confined gathering of pus that exactly looks like a bump or pimple on your gums. This bump is called gum boil/abscess. Identifying the signs of gum boils is vital, and starting treatment as early as you notice. If you see something in your mouth, it's time to consult a dentist.

Also Read :- 5 best practices that you should follow for healthy teeth and gums

What are the two most common kinds of gum boil/abscess are

  • Periapical abscess: It develops in the tooth that is still inside the gum and has not broken through.
  • Periodontal abscess: This develops deep inside the gum tissue.

Besides its unpleasant look and discomfort, a gum boil is a severe infection you should never ignore.


Cause of gum boil/abscess

A gum abscess happens when bacteria in your mouth cause an infection in the space between your gums and the teeth. Gum abscesses can also occur because of periodontitis and bad oral hygiene. Periodontitis disease is inflammation of the gum formed due to plaque accumulation under your gums. Plaque is a sticky and colorless layer of bacteria resulting from poor oral hygiene. When you fail to remove the plaque formed on your tooth surface by regularly brushing and flossing, it leads to infection in the surrounding tissues. This, in turn, results in abscess formation.

Gum abscess also occurs when a deep periodontal pocket or space develops around your teeth because of gum disease. Bacteria can easily sustain in this space. When food and plaque start embedding in this space, bacteria thrive, leading to gum boil and abscess.

Another cause of gum abscess is a weak immune system because your body cannot fight infections. Some significant factors that can decrease your body's natural defense system are being very tired, feeling stressed, or having a chronic illness.


Symptoms of gum boil

Pain is the first symptom that indicates that you have a gum boil or abscess. Even though some gum boils are not very painful, many are. When you have such pain, you can examine the area through your tongue or a mirror to check if there is a bump on your gum.

Some of the other symptoms of gum boils/abscesses are

  • Gum bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Discharge of pus
  • Bad breath
  • Gum swelling
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Earache
  • Fever


Diagnosing a gum boil/abscess

When you feel any pain, tenderness, or pus taste in your mouth, do not ignore those signs. Consult your dentist; depending on your signs and symptoms, your dentist can identify the condition, type, and stage of gum boil or abscess.

In addition to the visual examination of your gums, your dentist might order a dental X-ray to check if there is any other periodontal disease or a pulp infection. Through X-ray, your doctor can also know if there is a loss of bone because of illness.

Also Read :- Gingivitis - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


In maximum cases, gum boil occurs because of bad oral hygiene. One of the best ways to treat it is by maintaining good oral hygiene.

Your dentist might recommend some antibiotics to resolve the infection. Along with that, your doctor might order for

  • Antibiotics help treat infection and prevent further bacterial growth simultaneously; it may help restore oral health by eliminating boils.
  • A deep cleaning, especially when the reason is unhealthy gums
  • Root canal, when the cause of gum boil is tooth decay
  • Adjustment to dentures when your gum boils is because of poorly fitting dentures.

There are also some home remedies for gum boil/ abscess

  • Salt water gargling
  • Mouth rinsing using hydrogen peroxide
  • Rinsing your mouth using garlic juice
  • Applying clove oil or tea tree oil
  • Applying a homemade paste prepared by using -
    • ½ tsp of mustard oil
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • ½ tsp Kosher salt


Complications of gum boil or abscess

Treating your gum boil or abscess as early as possible is better. When left untreated, the infection might spread to other parts of your body through your bones or bloodstream, which can be life-threatening.

In some cases, gum infection can cause sepsis and symptoms like

  • A body temperature above 101 degrees F
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Throbbing pain
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Rapid heart


Preventive measures that can be taken

As we all know, prevention is always better than cure. So by following the below-given preventive measures, you can prevent gum abscess to some extent:

  • Always practice good oral hygiene to avoid gum abscesses.
  • Brush and floss at least twice a day regularly. Flossing helps in removing food and plaque that is stuck in your gums. It helps decrease plaque accumulated on your teeth and below the gum line.
  • Go for regular dental cleanings at least every six months.


Your dentist can drain all pus and eliminate the infection, decreasing the risk of further complications. If you leave it untreated, your gum abscess worsens and leads to a life-threatening condition. So, even after taking all the precautions, if you get gum boil /abscess, then opt for early treatment. If you want to know more about gum diseases and types of complications due to it, log into MyDentalPlan-India’s Largest Dental platform and post your query or consult a dentist at a minimal price. 




About the Author:

Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer

Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst


  • C.M Academy
  • Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology

Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.



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