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What are the symptoms of a gum abscess?

What are the symptoms of a gum abscess? - Dentist Surrey

Sync Dental Centres in Addlestone offers advice on this uncomfortable problem.

Other than for check up appointments or cosmetic work, patients generally come to our Addlestone dental clinic when they have a problem with a tooth. Decay and broken teeth are two of the more routine issues that we deal when when a patient is in discomfort.

Dentists also deal with other oral health issues though, the best known one probably being gum disease. This is not the only gum issue that can arise though, and in today’s blog, we take a look at another common problem – the often painful gum abscess.

What is a gum abscess?

An abscess is said to be present when a pocket of pus forms. This can be anywhere in the body, but for our dental blog purposes, we will deal with the diagnosis and treatment of an abscess of the gum. This collection of bacteria can not only be extremely uncomfortable, but can also lead to serious complications, including sepsis, if it isn’t treated.

This type of abscess usually forms in the small space between the tooth and the gum. It is often, although not always, caused by poor cleaning in this area, leading to a buildup of bacteria. Those patients who have a weaker immune system can be more likely to suffer from this problem than a healthy patient; so those in this category should be especially diligent about their oral health care.

What are the symptoms of a gum abscess?

At the Sync Dental Centres, some of the more common symptoms that we see where a gum abscess is present include:

  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth. This is caused as pus leaks from the pocket.
  • Teeth that are very sensitive to both hot and cold. This can also be caused by enamel erosion.
  • Pain and difficulty when chewing food
  • Loose teeth caused by deterioration in the bone affected by the bacteria
  • Fevers – Where this occurs, you should see your dentist straight away. Please ask us for an emergency appointment.


If you experience one or more of these symptoms, you should arrange to see one of our Addlestone dental team as soon as possible. Whilst these symptoms may be caused by other dental issues, it is also quite possible that you have an abscess. To determine if this is the case or not, we will examine the area visually and may also take x-rays, especially where we suspect the problem may originate within the pulp tissue of the tooth.

Under no circumstances should you ignore these symptoms and should always have them investigated by a dental professional as soon as you possibly can.

Gum abscess treatment

First of all it is important to say that patients should be aware that this is not a problem that will go away on its own accord, and will almost certainly worsen, often causing significant pain. So please make sure to have it treated straight away. Treatment for the abscess will depend on each individual situation. Whilst antibiotics may be used, it is also often necessary to drain the pus pocket. This will require the area to be numbed before a small incision is made in order the drain the pus away.

Depending on the cause of the abscess, you may well require a treatment sometimes known as a ‘deep clean’. This will remove bacteria that has become trapped deep under the gum line, often attaching itself to both the root of the tooth and the surrounding bone. Where an x-ray indicates an infection of the pulp material in the tooth, a root canal procedure is likely to be necessary.


Although there are a variety of reasons why an abscess may form, in the vast majority of cases it is due to insufficient care being taken to clean the teeth and gums. We are sure that most of our patients know the recommended routine by now; brush your teeth twice a day and use dental floss. The best way to make sure that you are doing everything that you can to have a healthy mouth though is to see one of our dental hygienists for advice to make sure you are taking the best action possible.

When you see one of our hygienists, you will also receive a non invasive treatment known as a scale and polish. This should not be confused with a deep clean and is geared towards preventing a build up of tartar and bacteria on the teeth and gums. Although some patients may feel that this means yet another appointment to take time away from your busy life, it really is worth it. Your teeth will be healthier for it and you are less likely to need restorative treatment when you see the dentist.

To make sure that you are doing all that you can to keep your teeth and gums in good health, make an appointment to see one of the Sync Dental Centres dental hygienists today. Please call us on 01932 856541 to arrange your appointment. Our team looks forward to meeting you!

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