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Treating an Abscess when You Have Gum Disease


Posted on 3/25/2017 by Implant & Periodontal Associates NW
An elderly woman having a dental abscess repaired.
Gum disease is an infection of your gums. As it progresses from gingivitis (which only affects your gums and results in red, inflamed gum tissue) to more serious stages, known as periodontitis, the bacteria that cause infections to fall below the gum line and attack from the inside.

Infection can often lead to an abscess, which can often cause significant pain. Abscesses need to be treated, but so too does gum disease.

What is an Abscess?

An abscess is a pocket that forms to contain a growing infection, in an attempt to prevent its spread. There are two types of abscesses that can occur in the mouth. A periodontal abscess (or gum abscess) occurs between a tooth and the gum tissue, and is often the result of an infection forming around a trapped piece of food.

A dental abscess occurs as a result of an infection inside of a tooth that has caused the root to die. It usually appears at the tip of the tooth root and can spread into the bone. Abscesses usually cause a significant amount of pain, although there are some people who experience no pain at all.

Treating the Abscess

Abscesses need to be treated, otherwise you may be faced with other problems. Fistulas may appear, where the pus has drained through the bone and gum tissue. Or a cyst may form in the bone. In more severe cases, the infection can spread into the bloodstream and throughout the body.

Your periodontist can help to clear up abscesses by thoroughly cleaning the area and allowing the pus to drain out. Your periodontist will make a hole in the gums through the bone to allow the infection to drain without spreading.

A tooth abscess often requires a root canal, a procedure that removes the infected pulp and dead root, cleans out the cavity and fills it in, capping the tooth with a crown to seal out new bacteria. In some instances, if the tooth is too badly damaged, it may need to be removed.

Treating Gum Disease

Simply clearing up an abscess is not enough. If you have gum disease, that, too, needs to be treated to prevent further infections. Depending upon the severity of your gum disease, you may require scaling and root planing or periodontal maintenance. Aggressive stages of gum disease may call for surgery.

If you suspect an abscess, don't wait. Contact our office right away. He or she will be able to locate the abscess and treat it, as well as help you to heal from gum disease, preventing new infections from forming.


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Implant and Periodontal Associates Northwest

Uplake Professional Center
5723 NE Bothell Way, Suite C & D
Kenmore, WA 98028

Phone: 425.939.0545
Fax: 425.489.1923

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Implant & Periodontal Associates - Kenmore, 5723 NE Bothell Way, Kenmore, WA, 98028-9404 - Key Phrases: dental implants Kenmore WA \ Dr. Robert Gottlieb Kenmore WA \ Dr. Michael Cohen Kenmore WA \ 425.939.0545 \ kenmore.ipanw.com \ 9/23/2017