Dental abscess is a gum boil that develops on the gums. A dental abscess is a collection of pus that can form inside the teeth and we call it “Tooth Abscess”, or in the gums, and we call it then” Gum Abscess “. It’s caused by a bacterial infection.
A gum boil, or parulis, is a localised concentration of pus which occurs in the soft tissue of the gum, but what does a gum boil look like? Gum boils usually look like a small pimple in the mouth. It is usually painful and at the very least causes discomfort and makes eating and speaking a challenge. Gum boil or dental abscess is treatable, but preventing it is the best treatment.
“A gum boil is a warning sign that something just isn’t right in your mouth. Infection is finding its way out of your system, and you don’t want to leave untreated disease draining from an unknown source.”
What Causes a Dental Abscess?
Those with gum disease such as damaged gum tissue, bacterial infection, mouth ulcers, periodontal disease, root canal infections, or an abscessed tooth are more likely to develop dental abscesses because they are already dealing with gum health issues and bacteria accumulation. The causes could be one of the following:
1) When the nerve of a tooth dies (necrosis) due to tooth decay, trauma….. The body sends a multitude of white blood cells to the point where the nerve exits from the tooth, in an attempt to destroy the infection. This then forms an abscess as the cells die, and in some cases, the abscess can break through the gum tissue and form a gum boil, as a drainage point for the abscess.
2)Gum disease also causes pockets to form in your gums, which makes it easier for food and other things to get trapped beneath the surface and trigger an infection. Proper dental hygiene can go a long way toward preventing gum boils
Someone with a weak immune system faces a great risk for developing gum boils. This is true for all bacterial infections and if your immune system is compromised in any way, you need to pay special attention to oral health and other risks. It’s also important to consider a temporary weakening of your immune system, which can occur for a variety of reasons.
It’s also possible, but very rare, to develop a gum boil as a symptom of oral cancer. In most cases, oral cancer affects the tongue or lips, but it is possible for the gums to be affected. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to see a dentist if you do develop a gum boil. They will rule out cancer or send you for further evaluation if no other cause is identified.
What are the Symptoms of a Dental Abscess?
Chances are you’ll realize you have a gum boil (Dental abscess) because of pain, but not all boils are painful.
Other symptoms include:
- Swelling of the gums
- Pain beneath the tooth in the root
- Bad breath
- Increasing pressure in the affected area, as pus forms
- Redness on the gum line
- Appearance of a blister or bump on gum
- The surface of the gums being shiny due to the mucosa stretching over the abscess
- A bad taste in the mouth and a bad smell may be perceived as pus drains
Severe and/or untreated gum boils can cause fevers, chills, and vomiting. Remember, boils are caused by infection, which means the problem can spread beyond the gums and mouth. Many people report feeling nauseous or losing their appetite when they have a gum boil.
Recurring and Situational Dental Abscess
It’s possible for a gum boil to appear, disappear, and reappear again. If a gum boil keeps coming back, it could indicate a recurring infection or one that was never treated completely. It’s also possible for the infection to travel elsewhere and/or reappear in your mouth.
Some women develop gum boils during pregnancy. There is no need for worry, but it is important to monitor the gum boil. Generally, in this case, the boil is caused by a fluctuation in hormones that can trigger other oral health issues, too.
Most gum boils of pregnant women disappear on their own after delivery, but if you are in pain or it interferes with your daily life, you can ask specialist periodontist Dr.Miski to remove the boil.
Treating a Dental Abscess
The best treatment for a gum boil (Dental Abscess) is to maintain good oral health and prevent one from forming in the first place. If you’ve had gum boils in the past and you know you are prone to them, it’s even more important to be diligent about oral hygiene.
If a gum boil does develop, despite your best efforts, what can you do to treat it?
- If the boil is caused by poor gum health, the best way to treat it is to undergo a deep cleaning to remove the bacteria in your mouth. This usually requires a few trips to the dentist.
- If tooth decay is the cause of the gum boil, you’ll likely need to undergo a root canal and all it entails to restore health to the tooth. Once the infection is removed from the tooth, the boil will fade.
- It’s also possible to have a gum boil drained or removed surgically. This can be done in conjunction with the other therapies or on its own if the boil is not caused by an infection.
- If a boil is caused by ill-fitting dentures, your dentist can adjust or repair the problem to prevent friction on the gums.
Depending on when a boil develops and whether or not it is painful, there are a few at-home remedies that can help you ease the discomfort until you are able to visit a dentist. These are not replacements for professional dental care. If you need a temporary solution to gum boil pain, consider:
- Gargling with salt water
- Applying a turmeric paste to the affected area
- Rinsing with garlic juice
For more information or if you need immediate treatment for a painful gum boil or any other oral health issue, Contact us to book an appointment.
How to prevent abscesses and gum boils
As with most oral conditions, maintaining proper oral hygiene will help to prevent infections and the development of boils and abscesses. Annual or more frequent check-ups at the dentist are recommended to avoid conditions that can lead to abscesses and gum boils.