Gum abscess is the collection or accumulation of pus inside the gums and tooth. The abscess or pus collects at the root of the tooth or around the apex of the tooth. This gum abscess can spread to other parts of the mouth, cheek and throat. Abscesses can further spread to the tongue and infect the jaw bones too. In severe cases, abscess can spread to the neighboring tissues such as lungs and heart and cause systemic infections.
Abscess on gum are classified according to the site of infection. This are-
- Gingival abscess (abscess only on the gums)
- Periodontal abscess (occurring on the periodontal tissues)
- Peri apical abscess (abscess on the tooth apex or crowns)
What are the causes of abscess on gum?
- PLAGUE: A bacterial plague consists of colonies of bacteria, saliva and food residues. If teeth is not regularly brushed or flossed, plague accumulates on the teeth and the gums. Later plague can invade the soft tissues of the gums and cause an abscess on the gums.
- TOOTH DECAY AND CAVITIES: Severe decay of the tooth can cause death of the nerves and blood vessels in the gums. Pus will eventually form and once it spreads to the root it forms an abscess. This can infect the bones and cause further abscess formation.
- GUM DISEASES: Gum diseases such as periodontal diseases cause formation of deep pockets in between the teeth and the gums. Bacteria can easily harbor in this pockets and form abscess.
- CRACKED OR BROKEN TOOTH: Broken teeth can allow easy entry of the bacteria into the tooth pulp chamber. This results in the infection of the pulp tissues and formation of the abscess.
- ILLNESS AND MEDICINES: Diseases like cancer can cause abscess formation. Even medicines can cause abscesses in the jaw.
1) GINGIVAL ABSCESS: Gingival abscess are formed only on the gum tissues (localized). It does not affect periodontal tissues and bones. Gingival abscess is limited only to gums and it causes inflammation of the gums.
Gingival abscess causes a painful inflammation and enlargement of the gums. The lesion can spread rapidly to the surrounding regions.
Signs and symptoms of gingival abscess:
Gums are bright red and swollen. They are extremely tender, soft and painful. The swelling are shiny with rapidly spreading lesion. Only the marginal gingival and interdental gingival are affected. The lesions may eventually rupture and liberate the pus into the mouth.
2) PERIODONTAL ABSCESS: A periodontal abscess occurs in the periodontal bone and can spread to the soft tissues later. Periodontitis is a severe gum inflammation which causes receding of the gums leading to pocket formations in between the gums and teeth. These pockets harbors bacteria and plague and cause infection of the periodontal ligaments and bones. This can result in periodontal abscess.
Periodontal abscess is caused by the pocket formation resulting from Periodontitis. Once the bacteria multiply in the pocket, abscess formation follows. Root canal treatments can also cause spreading of the bacteria.
PERIAPICAL ABSCESS: Peri apical abscess is caused when the bacteria penetrate the pulp tissues through a cracked tooth or through a hole created by tooth decay. Bacteria break down the dentine and infect the soft pulp tissues eventually. Later, the alveolar bones are infected and this results in peri apical abscess.