Do you notice a small pimple on your gums? Unfortunately, it won’t go away on its own. It’s called a periodontal abscess and needs immediate treatment.
Suppose you notice a small bump on your gums. It’s tender, and your breath has an unpleasant taste. But otherwise, it doesn’t bother you too much. You wonder whether it will go away on its own.
Unfortunately, what you have is a periodontal abscess, which requires immediate treatment to prevent potentially severe health problems in the future.
What is a periodontal abscess?
A periodontal abscess is a bacterial infection on the gum line. It’s different from a periapical abscess, which is an infection in the pulp or inner chamber of the tooth.
In addition to a pus-filled pimple, a periodontal abscess can cause sensitivity, a toothache, a bad taste in the mouth, and pain when chewing. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and jaw can also occur with a periodontal abscess.
The abscess develops primarily from poor dental hygiene and periodontitis, the most serious form of gum disease. In fact, one study evaluated 51 patients diagnosed with periodontitis over a seven-year period. Of those subjects, 27 were later found to have a periodontal abscess.
If the abscess grows without treatment, the bacterial infection can seep further into the gum tissue around the tooth and even the bones in the jaw. The tooth can loosen without the support of the soft tissues, ligaments, and bone.
But it’s not just your oral health that may suffer from a periodontal abscess. Your mouth is the gateway into your digestive system, and, as such, bacteria can enter your entire body through it. As the bacteria spreads, it could cause a serious blood infection called sepsis. Periodontal abscesses have also been linked to other serious health issues, including pneumonia, heart inflammation, and brain abscess.
Never try to “pop” the abscess on your own. See your dentist immediately for treatment, which can include draining the infection from the abscess. You may also need a scaling and root planing procedure to clean the gums and root surface thoroughly.
How to prevent a periodontal abscess
Fortunately, a periodontal abscess is a highly preventable dental problem if you follow excellent oral hygiene practices such as the following:
Brush twice daily. Brushing twice daily is the minimum requirement for keeping your teeth free of bacteria and plaque. You can also brush after each meal. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Floss at least once a day. Bacteria, plaque, and food particles can hide in between teeth. The only way to remove those decay-causing substances is by flossing every day.
Treat your dry mouth. Dry mouth saps your mouth of saliva. Why is that important? Saliva can wash away bacteria. Without it, bacteria can thrive, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Talk to your dentist about how to manage your dry mouth.
Wear a nighttime mouthguard. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can damage your teeth and gums, which opens the door to bacterial infections. Ask your dentist to fit you with a nighttime mouthguard to protect your teeth.
Don’t miss your regular dental appointments! Not only do those twice-annual dental cleanings remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar, but they also give your dentist a chance to check your teeth and gums for any signs of decay or gum disease. Early treatment can successfully reverse gum disease and prevent an abscess.
Have an abscess? Call Espire Dental in Colorado Springs
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Colorado Springs location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your gums for an abscess and start treatment immediately. Don’t live near our Colorado Springs office? Find one of our other locations near you.
8610 Explorer Dr. #315
Colorado Springs, CO 80920