An abscess is when there is a swollen and possibly painful area that is filled with pus. An abscess is one way that your body forms a barrier and tries to contain an infection. It is difficult to predict the time frame for the existence of an abscess. It may be one or two days after the beginning of the infection, or an abscess can be present for months or even years if not treated.

The two types of abscesses in the mouth are a gum abscess (periodontal) or a tooth related abscess (periapical). A periodontal abscess can happen when there is an infection in the space between your gum and your tooth. In severe gum disease, bacteria can build up under the gum and in the bone. A periapical abscess can be seen with an X-ray on the tip of the root of the tooth as the infection spreads in the bone surrounding the tooth.

An abscess does not go away on it’s own, though in some cases it can be present for months or years without treatment and may not cause any pain. However, it is vital that the infection is removed as soon as possible as it can not only damage the surrounding bone and teeth but can also affect your general health and cause serious health problems. If you notice a small bump or ‘pimple’ on your gums or notice a bad taste in your mouth, you may be suffering from a dental infection.

If you see small pimple like swelling on your gum or notice a bad taste, rinse your mouth with warm salt water regularly whilst you make an appointment to come in and see us. Even if the salt water is relieving the symptoms, it is still important to see a dentist as soon as possible so that the cause of the infection can be removed.