A gum boil or abscess occurs when plaque, bacteria or food particles become trapped underneath the surface of the gums, which leads to an infection, according to MyPerio. Abscesses commonly form in individuals with gum disease, as this disease causes pockets or gaps along the gum line. These pockets catch and trap bacteria and debris, which makes those with periodontal pockets prime candidates for gum boils and abscesses, according to MyPerio.
According to Medical News Today, there are three types of dental abscesses, including gingival, periodontal and periapical. Gingival abscesses affect only the gum tissue, whereas periodontal abscesses involve the gum tissue as well as the bone and teeth. Periapical abscesses form within the soft pulp of the tooth.
Gum boils or abscesses are treated by incising the area, which allows the pus and bacteria to drain away, according to Medical News Today. In some cases, especially those involving periapical abscesses, a root canal may be necessary. In cases of recurrent abscesses, the affected tooth is often extracted or removed.
In addition to pain and swelling, other symptoms associated with gum boils include foul taste, fever, malaise, difficulty swallowing, insomnia, difficulty chewing or opening the mouth, and sensitivity to hot and cold foods, according to Medical News Today.