A person showing sore gums

Gum and tooth abscess: symptoms and possible treatment

A dental abscess is not only painful and disruptive, but it can also lead to more severe oral complications if not treated correctly and immediately. It’s therefore important to know how to spot tooth abscess symptoms and gum abscess signs early on to avoid unnecessary pain.

Dental abscess: What is it?

A dental abscess is the result of accumulated pus in a little tissue pocket that can affect the teeth, the gums or the facial bones. It’s primarily caused by bacterial infection and can lead to severe pain in the mouth.

The causes of a gum abscess are harmful bacteria accumulating and invading the dental environment either through a dental cavity or a crack in the tooth. You’re at higher risk of getting a dental abscess if you have poor dental hygiene, a high sugar diet or a dry mouth that’s prone to tooth decay.

A man holding the side of his jaw

Tooth and gum abscess symptoms

Symptoms of gum abscess, and stages of infection may vary over time and how severe the infection is. Common signs of dental abscess include: 

  • Intense and persistent pain that spreads all over your head, e.g. from the mouth to the ears, jaw or neck
  • Pain gets worse when you’re laying down
  • Red and swollen face
  • Shiny, red and swollen gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty in breathing, swallowing, and consuming something hot or cold
  • If the bacterial infection gets worse, you may experience a high temperature or a fever

Tooth and gum abscess treatment

As a dental abscess is caused by bacteria you should see a dentist or doctor immediately when you notice tooth abscess signs, as professional treatment is needed in this case. This kind of tooth abscess treatment may include:

  • Root canal treatment
  • Tooth removal
  • Drainage of the abscess
  • Prescription of antibiotics to reduce the infection

The only advisable tooth abscess treatment you can do at home is to relieve the pain using the tips below*  – to really treat the source of the abscess you should visit your dentist as soon as possible:

  • Taking painkillers to help with the pain and bring down the gum swelling
  • Avoiding hot or cold food and drinks that may aggravate the pain
  • Using a soft toothbrush  to avoid damaging the area further
  • Avoid flossing around the affected area is another tooth abscess remedy to help avoid further pain and discomfort
A dentist pointing to a date on a calendar

How to prevent dental abscesses

One of the easier ways to deal with potential dental abscesses is prevention. If you’re looking after your oral health, tooth abscesses will now be a thing of the past. 

  • Floss your teeth regularly and ideally every day
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with toothpaste from a brand you trust like Zendium that has a gentle and mild formula
  • Reduce the amount of sugary and starchy food you consume
  • See your dentist for regular visits

Zendium offers effective care whilst being 4 times kinder than a standard toothpaste containing SLS**. By boosting the mouth’s natural defences, Zendium helps to protect the mouth.


**Compared to a regular toothpaste containing SLS, on soft tissues, 30 mins after use. Clinically proven, UK 2016, n = 30.

The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist if you are experiencing any gum problems.