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Gum Abscess: Causes & Course of Treatment

gum abscess

A gum abscess or tooth abscess is caused by an infection that generally stems from the nerve of the tooth or an infection from the gum pocket. With an abscess you may experience pain, swelling, redness in the gums, and possibly a fever. The infection in the tooth or surrounding supporting structures, such as the gums or bone, is caused by the following:

Any one of these problems can allow bacteria to enter the soft tissue of a tooth, causing a build up of pus, which eventually forms an abscess. Depending upon the cause of the abscess, your dentist will choose one of two common treatment options.

Treatment Options

If you notice any type of bump on your gums you should immediately schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine if in fact it is an abscess and what the cause is. By doing an exam and taking x-rays your dental professional will be able to determine whether the abscess is stemming from the tooth itself or from supporting structures.  

If the gum abscess is caused by an infection in the nerve of the tooth itself your dentist would likely recommend root canal therapy and then placing a crown. In some cases the tooth is so broken down that root canal therapy cannot save the tooth. In this case you would need a tooth extraction followed by a dental implant, a fixed bridge, or a removable partial.

If the abscess is caused by an infection in the supporting structures due to plaque and tartar build-up the first course of treatment is typically a very deep cleaning. This should be followed by proper dental hygiene at home as well as regular visits to the dentist. However, in some cases the loss of supporting structures is so severe that a deep cleaning cannot save the tooth. This would result in the same treatment as mentioned above, involving a tooth extraction followed by either a dental implant, fixed bridge, or removable partial.

Although sometimes patients experience little to no pain with a gum abscess, it is pertinent that you consult with your dentist immediately to determine the best course of treatment. It’s also important to rule out a neoplastic growth such as a benign or malignant growth. If you believe you have a gum abscess and you have questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact us or request an appointment online today!


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