A gum abscess is simply infected tissues in the gums. There are good and bad bacteria that reside in the mouth and gums. If the bad bacteria build-up, they create tartar and plaque, causing tooth decay.
In addition, bad bacteria can cause an infection if they find their way into an open tissue. When this happens, the body fights back by sending white blood cells, which cause swelling as it tries to eliminate the bacteria. The reaction results in a swollen, painful pocket of pus called an abscess.
Types of Gum Abscess
There’re two types of gum abscess:
Gingival abscesses. These solely occur in the gum tissue and don’t touch the teeth.
Periodontal abscesses. These occur in the spaces between the gums and the teeth. Although common in people suffering from periodontal disease, this abscess may develop due to food getting stuck between the gums and teeth.
Symptoms of Gum Abscess
Gum abscesses are known to cause pain and swelling. In addition, you may also notice a bulge or lump around the affected area that causes pressure and pain.
Other symptoms include bad breath, bleeding gums, gum and teeth sensitivity, a bad taste in the mouth, pus discharge, receding gum line, and fever.
Causes of Gum Abscess
As we’ve aforementioned, gum abscesses are caused by a buildup of bad bacteria in an open tissue between the gums and the teeth. So, what causes bacterial infection to occur?
· Periodontitis and poor oral hygiene. Gum abscesses tend to be more common in people with poor oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene is linked to periodontal gum disease, which often creates open tissues in the mouth where bacteria can live and multiply, potentially resulting in abscesses. Other factors that can cause periodontal disease include diabetes, hepatitis C, hormonal changes in women, genetics, heart diseases, arthritis, obesity, and some medications
· A weak immune system may also cause gum abscesses as the body will have difficulty fighting off infections. People living with chronic conditions such as HIV may have a hard time fighting off bacteria that cause abscesses.
How to Treat Gum Abscess
There’re several ways of treating gum abscess:
A dentist can drain the abscess and remove the contaminants that cause the situation to worsen. The dentist may also recommend you undergo a specialized cleaning procedure to help remove tartar and plaque buildup. After the procedure is over, your dentist may order an X-ray to confirm the abscess has not caused a breakdown of the bone. If there’s severe bone loss, the dentist may recommend you undergo a bone repair procedure.
In a situation when gum abscesses have affected the inner pulp of the tooth, you may need a root canal or even extraction of the tooth next to the abscess.
Your dentist may also recommend medication using antibiotics to treat gum abscesses. Oral antibiotics will kill the bad bacteria, thereby preventing the infection from spreading to other parts. Remember that antibiotics will not cure gum abscesses – they’ll just be meant to prevent re-infecting the area and reduce pain and swelling.
When Should You See a Dentist?
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned above, you should see a dentist as soon as you can. The affected tooth area will need thorough treatment that involves draining the pocket pus and administration of antibiotics.
If you’d love to see a dentist, we would be happy to assist you. Give Paul Mansky Dental a call today! We are located in Troy, Michigan and can be reached at (248) 689-5508 and we hope to hear from you soon!