Gum Abscess: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

A women feels pain in her mouth

Almost one in two American adults suffer from periodontal disease, one of the causes of a gum abscess. Given the widespread occurrence of this dental problem, we want to share some key information about gum abscesses.

So what is a gum abscess? How can you treat it and prevent it from happening again? Keep reading for the answers to all your questions.

What Is a Gum Abscess?

Let's start by answering the basics. Abscesses can form anywhere on the body, including around the teeth and on the gums, and are small pockets of pus.

Also known as a periodontal abscess, it is a painful condition that does not go away alone. Gum abscesses are bacterial infections that are a distinct issue from dental abscesses. Medical treatment from your dentist is required to treat the abscess.

The two main types of gum abscess are periodontal and gingival. A gingival abscess is not related to the teeth at all and is an infection solely in the gum. Meanwhile, a periodontal abscess occurs in the space between the teeth and gums and is the more common type of abscess.

Causes of A Gum Abscess

We all have good and bad bacteria in the mouth and gums. But, an abscess is caused when the bad bacteria enters an area of open gum tissue. The bacteria multiply, causing an infection.

The body tries to fight off this infection with white blood cells. This causes a painful pocket of pus under the surface of the gum.

So, now we know the science behind it. But what does this mean for a typical adult or child trying to maintain good dental care?

Periodontitis disease is a major contributor to the development of a gum abscess. Periodontitis is itself caused by poor oral hygiene, so it's essential to take good care of your teeth. This means daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular check-ups at the dentist.

It's worth noting that smoking has been identified as the most significant cause of periodontitis.

Having a weak immune system is another potential cause of a gum abscess. Patients may find they develop abscesses in particular when they are tired, stressed, or dealing with concurrent illnesses.

Symptoms

While reading this article, you might be asking yourself "do I have a gum abscess?" Let's recap the key indicators of a gum abscess so that you can take the appropriate steps.

First, it's worth pointing out that a gum abscess is not likely to go unnoticed. Due to the pain associated with this dental issue, you are likely to be aware that there's a problem.

In addition to pain, you might notice a red, swollen area on your gum. That area of your mouth might feel particularly sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks. You might also see pus discharge, or sense the unpleasant taste of it.

In the more severe gum abscess stages, it's also possible to develop a fever.

Treatment

If you think you might have a gum abscess, you'll be wondering about the process of gum abscess treatment. Remember that medical attention is essential in order to remove the build-up of pus.

The crucial aspect of treatment is draining the pocket of pus. This is done by making a small incision in the abscess. The dentist will apply a numbing cream to the area beforehand when necessary.

Your dentist will also remove any debris from the periodontal pocket. It's likely that they will also recommend a deep cleaning procedure that removes any plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums.

Last, to follow up the treatment a dental X-ray might be necessary to assess the extent of bone loss. In some scenarios, a root canal procedure will be required to remove a damaged section of a tooth.

Post-periodontal Treatment Gum Care

If you have a gum abscess treated by a dentist, it's important to follow post-treatment advice and take good care of your healing gums. If your dentist prescribes antibiotics to help fight off the infection, you must follow the full course of medication. This is regardless of whether the pain goes away and swelling decreases.

Your dentist might also advise that you take some pain medication, such as ibuprofen. Check with your doctor before taking any medication as there are some conditions, such as stomach ulcers, which preclude taking this pain relief.

At Baton Rouge Perio, our team of expert dentists will talk each patient through their post-treatment recovery plan. You might be advised to use an antiseptic mouthwash or eat only soft foods for a few days.

Gum Abscess Prevention

To finish, whether you've never had a gum abscess before, or you're looking to prevent any more from recuring, here are some tips for gum abscess prevention. The single most important piece of advice is to practice good dental hygiene.

Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day, in addition to flossing regularly.

You should also schedule regular check-ups and cleaning appointments with your dentist. Your teeth should be professionally cleaned every six months, and these check-ups are useful for identifying potential dental hygiene issues before they become problems.

When Do You Need to See Your Dentist?

As soon as you experience any of the signs of a gum abscess, it's essential to see your dentist. Contact Baton Rouge Perio and our team will schedule an appointment for you as soon as possible to relieve the pain and treat the abscess.

Check out the rest of our website to explore the dental services we provide. You can contact us here if you have any questions or wish to make an appointment.

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Baton Rouge Perio

10723 N. Oak Hills Parkway, Building B
Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Tel: 225-396-4587
Fax: 225-769-9939

Baton Rouge Periodontists, Dr. Kenneth Markle and Dr. Jenny Herman, provide a variety of surgical and non-surgical services for the treatment of periodontal issues. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are very conservative in our treatment recommendations and limit surgery to the areas where it is absolutely necessary.

Proudly serving Baton Rouge Louisiana and the cities of Gonzales LA Prairieville LA • Denham Springs LA Central LA • Hammond LA Zachary LA • St. Francisville LA • Baker LA • LaPlace LA

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