What Is a Gum Boil - Types and Treatments - Icard And Strein Family Dentistry

What Is a Gum Boil? (Types & Treatments)

Gum boils look like small pimples on your gum line. They most often occur when an infection develops, usually from a trapped piece of food or other foreign objects that get lodged in the gums, such as a broken tooth fragment.

Gum boils can be quite painful and usually require treatment from a dentist. Keep reading to learn more about gum boils, their types, and how they are treated.

What Is a Gum Boil?

A gum boil, also known as a parulis or dental abscess, is an infection of the gum tissue that appears as a pimple-like bump. It often forms at the base of a tooth and can be painful when touched.

If left untreated, a gum boil can cause serious oral health problems such as tooth loss and spreading an infection to other areas of the body.

What Causes Gum Boils?

Several factors can cause gum boils. These often include poor dental hygiene habits and repeated trauma or damage to the inside of the mouth. A gum boil may also occur because of an underlying, severe disease such as cancer or other infections.

Additionally, any irritation within the mouth, such as sharp-edged teeth or poorly fitted dentures, can cause a gum boil to develop. The size and severity of these boils vary from person to person and depend mainly on how quickly you seek out medical advice when symptoms appear.

Types of Gum Boils

Based on the gum boil’s position, it can be classified into one of three categories:

Gingival abscess: These are the most common type of gum boil and often appear near the crown of the tooth, on the gums. They typically occur due to poor hygiene or periodontal disease.

Periodontal abscess: These boils occur when bacteria accumulates and builds up around a tooth, leading to an infection between gum and tooth. They are usually accompanied by pockets of pus.

Periapical abscess: These boils form when the root of a tooth is damaged or infected. This leads to an infection at the end of the root. They are typically caused by trauma or deep decay.

Symptoms of Gum Boil

The primary symptom of a gum boil is a pimple-like bump on the gums that can be seen and felt. 

Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain when eating, pressing down on the affected area, or brushing your teeth
  • Swelling and redness around the affected area
  • Fever
  • Swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Drain
  • Bleeding from the swelling
  • Pus discharge
  • Ear ache
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Nausea

How To treat a Gum Boil

The most important thing when treating boils is to maintain good oral hygiene. This means brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution after meals, and avoiding acidic foods.

You mustn’t ignore the boil as this may lead to an infection that can spread more quickly and cause more harm to your teeth and gums. Instead, apply warm compresses for about 10 minutes every couple of hours to reduce pain and swelling.

Over-the-counter topical antiseptic solutions and antibiotics recommended by your dentist to help reduce the symptoms. However, antibiotics will depend on the seriousness of the boil. Finally, if at any stage you feel that it is not getting better or worsening, you should seek professional medical attention immediately.

Do Gum Boils Go Away?

Gum boils can go away on their own if the underlying cause is addressed. However, seeing your dentist as soon as possible is essential to diagnose and treat the condition properly. In some cases, you may need a surgical procedure to reduce swelling or remove any debris from the affected area. 


Gum boils can cause significant pain and discomfort and should not be ignored. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, you must see your dentist as soon as possible to diagnose and treat the condition accurately. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact your Icard and Strein Family Dentistry, Harrisburg, NC, for further advice and treatment.

Our Harrisburg NC Dentist Office

To learn more about dental treatments from Icard & Strein Family Dentistry, or to schedule an appointment, call our Harrisburg, NC dental office today at 704.455.5003.