How to Treat a Gum Boil

Published on: April 16, 2023
A concerned middle-aged woman touching her cheek due to dental issue.

Do you have a lump or sore on your gums? You may have a gum boil, which can appear as a blister on your gums. This condition can be uncomfortable and may need gum boil treatment to control the infection under the skin. Here is information on how to treat a gum boil and when to see a dentist.

What Is a Gum Boil?

A gum boil is an infected abscess in the gum tissue. This means that bacteria have collected under the skin and filled a pocket of pus that creates a lump or blister on the gums. Gum boils are often the result of poor oral hygiene, but they can be caused by other oral health issues.

Causes and Symptoms of Gum Boils

Periodontal disease or gingivitis are common causes of gum boils. These gum infections are a result of bacteria that cause plaque and tartar on the teeth. As gum disease progresses, pockets can form around the teeth where bacteria may get under the skin and cause a boil. Other possible causes include:

  • Rubbing from poor-fitting dentures
  • Gum infection from tooth decay
  • Abscess caused by an infected tooth
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Tooth trauma
  • Oral cancer (rare)

Once an abscess or boil appears on the gums, it can be uncomfortable. The pressure from the accumulated pus can cause pain as it pushes against nerves and becomes sensitive, but not all boils are painful. Some of the symptoms of a gum boil include:

  • Swelling and tenderness on the gums
  • Bad breath
  • Undesirable taste in mouth (pus drainage)
  • Hot and cold sensitivity
  • Nausea from drainage
  • Fever
  • Earaches
  • Bump or blister on gums

If you have a blister on your gums, it may be a boil. It is important to have a dentist diagnose your gum boil – in rare cases, it may be a sign of oral cancer. Most gum boils are related to tooth or gum infections, but you want a professional diagnosis to determine the best gum boil treatment.

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Best Gum Boil Treatments

First and foremost, gum boils should not be treated at home. These lumps are a sign of infection within your mouth, and you should see a dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment. When determining how to treat a gum boil, it depends on the cause of your gum infection.

Periodontal Cleaning
If gum disease is the cause of your gum boil, treatment should include a dental cleaning. Depending on the extent of your periodontal disease, you may need deep cleanings below the gum line, root scaling, root planing and other treatments.
Tooth Decay or Infection Removal
If a decayed tooth is contributing to your gum boil, you may need the decay removed or a root canal. This can include fillings once the decay is removed, or oral surgery to perform root canal therapy if the infection is inside the tooth. If a root canal is performed, you may need a dental crown.
Draining the Boil
If the boil has not drained on its own, your dentist may need to drain the boil and disinfect the gum tissue. The gums will be numbed with a local anesthetic before it is carefully drained and sterilized after the procedure.
Denture Fitting
If dentures rubbing against the gums caused your boil, you will need to have your dentures adjusted for a better fit. Once you have your gum boil treated, an improved denture fit can reduce the chance of future gum boils forming.
Along with other gum boil treatments, medications such as antibiotics may be prescribed to control the infection. This can stop the infection from spreading to the bloodstream and prevent more complications from your gum boil.

Preventing Gum Boils

Good oral hygiene, properly fitting dentures, managing diabetes and overall good oral health can help prevent gum boils. Since many boils are linked to gum disease, tooth decay and tooth infections, daily and routine dental care are the best ways to prevent these abscesses. This includes:

  • Brushing at least twice daily
  • Flossing at least once daily
  • Dental cleanings twice or more times per year
  • Routine dental checkups for decay, damage and infection detection
  • Routine oral cancer screenings

Staying on top of your oral health can go a long way in preventing abscesses. This can minimize the need for gum boil treatment in the future and protect your overall oral health.
Asian woman undergoing dental checkup.
If you have a lump on your gums combined with bad breath, a foul taste in your mouth or gum pain, call your dentist to schedule a checkup. You may have a gum boil and need diagnosis to determine the cause and best treatment plan to relieve your pain and prevent health complications.

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